One of the tenants has been moving out for months. Donna was supposed to be completely out and her apartment empty by the end of January, but it became apparent to me that she would not finish on time and that she was at the end of her rope. On Sunday afternoon, Pete went out to tell her she could store what she couldn’t take this trip in the basement and found her in tears in the driveway. We hoped she would put things in the basement and leave. For fuck’s sake, with all the bumping and banging and door-slamming, I haven’t had a refreshing cocktail in peace in ages. A bit later, the house seemed quiet. I forgot about Donna. My parents came over for afternoon snacks and that cocktail I mentioned earlier, but when Pete took them to the basement to show them refinished furniture, all Hell broke loose.
Pete ran into the kitchen, talking talking talking. I couldn’t figure out what the words meant. Pete was saying Donna was gone and Timmy was in the backyard. I stared at him the way dogs stare at ceiling fans. He finally pointed out to the back porch; Mom was right next to me when we approached a very large cat crouching in the corner with his face pressed up to the back of the broom. I said, “That’s not Timmy,” but when I gently removed the broom, it was Timmy, which is my name for that cat. That’s not his actual name. I don’t know his actual name because I can’t stand his human. On the porch, there was an improvised litter box but no food or water. Pete opened Donna’s apartment door from the inside, which would have been illegal until she left. Mom, Pete, Timmy and I rushed into the apartment. I brought in food and water and dragged the litter box into the bathroom. Pete tore down duct-taped curtains all over the place and opened cabinets. The apartment only looked empty. It was not. She didn’t even take her plants. We were very confused. Though there was no question of leaving him outdoors, I was reluctant to leave a freaked-out Timmy alone inside the apartment. Despite the sad turn of events, he was less freaked out than he might have been because my mother is Snow White.
Did you know that? I must have mentioned it. When we were kids, my brother, sister and I were always bringing home injured birds and assorted stray critters, which my mother would feed with an eyedropper until they were old enough to vote. She’s the only person I know with an entire family of groundhogs and no murderous designs. Mom spoke gently to Timmy until he stopped hissing and swinging at us, which was good news because I look terrible in stripes.
Pete called Donna. She did not pick up. Pete locked the door and we tried to figure out what the hell was going on at our house.
She called Pete yesterday and said, “I forgot my cat.” She’s a relentless manipulator and now I’m taking care of her cat because that’s the right thing to do.
I’d be furious if I thought she’d created this situation on purpose, but I doubt it. She loves Timmy. Moving makes people crazy and stupid. She started out crazy, so she didn’t have far to travel before she arrived at I Forgot My Cat-crazy. Poor Timmy!