Today I went to the apartment to start packing up the kitchen. I let myself in, played with Jake for a bit, and set about my task. It was pretty easy – I started with a drawer of extra spoons and worked my way out, packing our Wusthof steak knives, our sterling silver lobsterpicks (bought by my sister!), and my very own embossed cutting board. But the feel of the place was so different that even my own belongings seemed alien to me. I took a stroll to the back, through the bedroom I haven’t slept in for nine months, and found Jake, crouched in his usual spot, begging for his window to be opened. He likes to sit on this stool my grandfather made out of some tree trunks and watch the birds while the fresh air blows in his face. At first I told him no, if Katsu doesn’t open it it’s not gonna be opened, but then I relented. He seemed happy enough, for Jake.
I paced back into the kitchen and assessed things. Truthfully, there’s not much left for me to take at the apartment. I have nearly all of my books, nearly all of my clothes, and the bulk of my kitchenware. It makes me feel hollow to walk around there, with half the place stripped of our shared belongings. I can’t bear to take the pictures off the walls. I don’t know who will keep our cat books. It’s completely different, but exactly the same.
We plan to sell some furniture on Craigslist, so I started taking pictures to distract myself.
This is the couch (seriously, just take it – it’s a sleeper!)
Here’s this thing we bought at IKEA and then had no idea what to do with:
And I had to work really hard to dust off this table, but see how the chair behind it matches the thing we had no idea what to do with? Yup.
However, in the end, I felt no better about things. Actually, I felt worse, and contemplated stealing a Sapporo from the beer fridge. My beer fridge. The beer fridge we’ve had for seven years. Instead, I started packing my cookbooks.
At some point it occurred to me that I hadn’t heard from Jake in awhile. Normally he’s a very vocal cat, and if he’s not sleeping on (our?) (his?) bed, he’s usually yowling about something. But Jake wasn’t on our bed. In fact, Jake wasn’t anywhere.
I went back to the window, Jake’s window, and found a hole torn through the screen with a tuft of his fur hanging onto one of the wires. I plucked it off, smelled it, and let myself out the back door. I was calm while I scanned the backyard, thinking maybe he was just hiding behind the old brick grill, or maybe underneath the porch steps, but no, no. Jake was nowhere. Jake was gone.
And I stood there in the backyard that is no longer my backyard, and called my husband who is no longer my husband, and told him I lost the cat that I never wanted but he made me love.
And I cried like my heart was broken.
Because it is.
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