Sadism and Hygiene

“Sadist! You’re a sadist!”

Fat kangaroo-kicks me with her back legs as she tries to yank her left paw from my grip. We wrestle on the living room floor shouting expletives at each other. I feel at least a couple fresh scratches across my clavicle – they’ll match the ones that were delivered to my bicep when I was trimming the nails on her other paw. I get close to clipping another one of her talons when the grey feline sources Hulk-like strength to rip her paw from my grasp and scrambles out of my grip for the fourth time this morning. Her low-hanging belly sways side-to-side as she runs. I would rather spend eighteen hours doing intensive Crossfit in a down-filled parka than try to trim Fat’s claws. Current conditions are frustrating; we’ve seen moments of hatred throughout the day.

In a flash, the good doctor is down the hall shooting me a look of slight panic before turning into the bedroom. I trail behind and I lunge at her as I approach the bed where she’s stopped to catch her breath.

Fat scampers out of the way and across the mattress fast enough that I only graze her tail with my outstretched fingers.

“Christ, Fat. Get back here.”

“Willingly submit to torture? You must be insane if you think I’d get on board with that.” She stays low to the ground and slips past my ankles and into the hallway.

The routine is all-too familiar, a scene we’ve already played out a few times today. Fat’s ears fold backward in displeasure, and she darts through the kitchen. If feline parkour were a thing, what Fat does next would foot the bill. She runs, bounds from the leather chair to the desk and instantly leaps from the desk edge to the height of the bookshelf. She grabs hold of the high edge and kicks off the side of the shelf to boost her up to the very top. If I wasn’t so exhausted and annoyed I would have filled the apartment with applause.

Instead my reaction is: “Get back down here so I can kill you, Fat.”

“Yeah, okay, Boss. I’m all over that idea.” At least from her lazy sarcasm I can feel okay knowing that I’m not the only exhausted one here. I wheel the chair over to the shelf, bracing the glossy wood as I step onto the seat with the finesse of a senior citizen with a walker. Fat gets another wind as I reach for her and she does a Mission Impossible-style jump onto the couch, landing with momentum that propels her forward.

I groan as I step back down and violently shove the office chair aside. If Fat didn’t scratch me so much, I would have less desire to cut her nails.

As she sprints from the living room down the hall to the bedroom, Fat screams over her shoulder, “Your parents didn’t raise you right!”

Giving chase, I bellow, “I’ve been telling you that for years!”

“Clearly they saved the good parenting for the kids that showed promise. We can stop this chaotic nonsense and have a session about it.” Her words come out between huff-and-puff breaths.

“If I may quote you, Fat,” I gasp for air; my lung supply seems to be failing with all this cardio, “Willingly submit to torture? You must be insane.”

The Nature of the Beast

“This woman is on the pot. There is no other explanation.” Fat sits on the carpet where the coffee table normally lives, staring at the television screen. A scrawny blonde chick in a teal unitard folds herself in half and I try to reconcile my body into a similar shape. Fat’s head turns and her matter-of-fact tone burrows into my ear, “You’re doing it wrong. That aligned spine you’re so proud of is getting wrenched into the shape of an ampersand because of this shit.”

I shake my head until my frizzy hair parts and I follow the movement on the screen with a time delay that’s two steps shy of disabled. As my hands swoop above my head and I unhinge at the hip, I respond to the feline — the ship sailed on proper breathing technique within the first fifteen seconds. “Am I unaware that I’ve been bragging about my straight spine?”

“You’re either proud of your spine or you’ve quite the stick up your ass. What say you?” Fat’s back arches in an almost impossible curve and then she flops on her side.

My legs shake as I try to focus on keeping my knee directly over my foot as I bend. Hamstrings burning, I gamble with maintaining balance and steal a glance at Fat. “For the life of me, I can’t figure out why you don’t just say what’s on your mind.”

Fat and I pause while the blonde yogi’s airy voice tells us to take the tension built up through the day, push it out of the body and compost it.

“Compost tension? Terrible idea for fertilizer. Stay away from that garden.” Fat notices that I’m still waiting on an explanation. “This whole yoga thing,” Fat rolls over so she occupies the space that I’m trying to extend into, “it worries me.”

I nudge her aside with my foot, bend my knees and do my best to hold steady, “Go on.”

“First this, then you’ll be in lululemons meeting some bitches for cappuccinos in West Vancouver to talk about fashion. After that, you’ll have an extravagant engagement, over-the-top wedding, dramatic divorce, a second wedding, second divorce, then a third.”

“That’s not going to happen, Fat.” My body can’t sustain the pose, and I collapse on the floor beside her.

“Yoga is a gateway activity into a lifestyle that you’re not meant for.”

In the background, the yogi imparts more wisdom in the form of a voice over.

“Face it, boss. You’re not zen enough to make a go of this. You’re more of a bloody-knuckles-solve-problems kind of gal. Just yesterday you were talking about wanting to junk-punch some dude in Nevada.”

I reach for the remote and turn the television off. “Action gets results,” I shrug as if extreme measures are the social norm.

“Thank you. This hippy nonsense, it’s not for you.” Fat’s face leans toward my calf and I feel her wet nose briefly touch my leg. “Just keep being your normal asshole self and stop freaking me out, okay?”

At some point, I zone out when Fat speaks and I hone in on a desire that’s overtaking my ability to think straight. “I need chinese food.”

Fat smiles. “That’s my girl.”