The No Break-Up Clause

Nope, we’re not breaking up. Nope, you don’t know what you want. Oh senioritis got you wondering? You want the college experience? Here it is: people live by themselves, people go to class, they get food with friends and hang out at parties or game or watch movies together. It’s freeing, yes, because you can do it when you want to do it.
But me? You can only choose me now.
Not tomorrow because I’m not going to waste my time not being appreciated. I am not some girl to taste in an array of cuisine. No I’m the full meal: my coquettish giggle the appetizer, my intellectual conversation about passions the three-course meal and if you’re lucky – and only then – the depths of my heart for dessert.
So you’ll choose me today because I am the best damn woman you have in your life.
We’re not breaking up.

That’s what I wish I said. Instead I begged for another chance like a dirty dishtowel desperate to clean the last crummy plate. I never wanted to stop, didn’t want to start over, too afraid to never find a flame again.

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sunrise

I don’t need an alarm to wake me. I keep my shades open. When the big star breaks the horizon, its brightness spills onto my bed. Facing the wall or the window, my room is washed with muddled hues of a grapefruit.

Forgiveness is like burning water and boiling it the same way routinely. A festering grudge takes effort to retain like a can of beans without a can opener. A damp towel you can’t shake off, your trip to the beach will always be tainted by the crab pinching your toe than the shells you collected.

When I was a little girl, my dad took my mom and me everywhere. His enthusiasm was my calm inspiration to daydream on long car drives and energy to keep walking on my own five year old feet when exploring.
I don’t recollect more. My prime flashbulb moments are fixated in the duration of the acme of my teens. Clanging cymbals of disagreements, no math homework help or driving lesson was without verbal talons streaking across each other’s hearts.

Clouds are amorphous. On stratus days, you’re a dulled kitchen knife. But puffy cumulus days, painting with shaving cream, giggle and wonder at all possibilities.

A sailor drifts on sea to value land and appreciate the waves that carry him forward.
I wouldn’t know how to drive if it weren’t for my father. I managed to pass calculus because of him. Today when I get frustrated at work, I call him on my drive home and he listens to me rant. I can’t tell him what’s in my heart and he doesn’t ask limiting any disapproval to be spoken. Instead, we watch hours of television together, our silent communication solid through our shared laughter and tears watching comedic shows and Hallmark movies.

For every negative comment, it takes five positive comments to bring you back to state of balance. My wavering self-confidence tells me there’s still gold emotion coins to be earned. But as sun shines fiercely marking a new day, striving to be positive will set a precedent of a mindset that will react with patience and acceptance – for myself from my own eyes.

tell me you love me

like a parched orchid in a drought
the gust’s whisper of impending rain
entices but the promise is questionable
until upheld. the orchid arches her
slender stem to let her delicate petals
radiate in the penetrating beat of light
hoping clouds part to quench her thirst.
if her roots weren’t so deep she’d
relocate, so dependent on the fickle
weather, her worry sheds her blooms
as she witnesses in the thick smell of
humidity, the rolling vapor hanging over
freshly blossomed dutch tulips.
desperate for a drink, the orchid
misses the sun’s disappearance too

Cat Mom

Indigo is curled up in my lap as I write this. When it’s just two of us, she follows me around. I never predicted she would be like a puppy. I adore it.

When I first brought Indigo home, sounds of the bathroom and neighbors frightened her. The only spot she could find was hiding under my bed, but mostly she’d immediately attached herself to me and Rich and jumped into bed with us. Two years old and despite having grown up bouncing from high kill shelters, she has a vibrant personality. Indigo is very vocal about what she needs be it extra food, litter box change, some cuddles or a pick up to my bed because she’s lazy to make the jump. An automatic friend, I still stare at her in amazement sometimes: here I am holding something alive and full of life.

Rich laughed at my reactions every time Indigo blinked at me or purred; I crooned over all of it. A prior pet owner, he was used to such behaviors. For me all my stuffed animals were my pets. They’re not replaced by Indigo now, just shared with her – I’m glad she’d rather cuddle up next to them than claw them.

Being a cat mom is a delight, but I constantly worry about her. The first day she didn’t use the litter box at all. The second day she ate too fast and vomited a little. The fourth day when I came home I realized she hadn’t eaten or drunken anything at all. Her poop hasn’t been fully solid lately – which became my entire conversation with my roommate from college, the Cat Guru having grown up with several cats. Lilian told me not to worry, it’s just the change in the diet. As long as she is still eating and the poop doesn’t smell, the food will eventually process well in her body.

Still, I have a standing appointment with a vet tomorrow. Hopefully my questions get answered, especially tips on trimming my Indigo’s nails. Occasionally I’ll hold her paw and she’ll let me and I’ll pretend to snip the tips of her nails with my fingers but three is the limit. She has scratchers in the apartment but I worry the longer her nails get the more she’ll want to claw. While that’s more of a how it will affect me problem, I don’t want her nails to get stuck in something while I’m gone either. It’s a scary responsibility, to have one’s life so dependent on me but I am rewarded by her company.

I know it’s a valid fear, but I struggle to admit that I don’t want to be alone. Don’t get me wrong, I love my personal space, but I fear the day my primary emotional support from my parents and Rich will be lost. My parents want me to come back home to them and Rich wants to see the world. I can’t appease either of them so I hope to make Indigo the happiest cat.

It’s easy to give unconditional love. To ask for it, it seems like you have to be worthy enough for the other person. I’m glad I’m worthy enough for Indigo. When she head bunts and meows, I communicate right back talking in either a singsongy voice or meowing right back to tell her I love her. She’s the only cat to let me kiss her so much. We’ll pretend to pounce on toys and chase each other to get our cardio. The best part is that she loves my bed as much as me so when I’m reading, Netflixing, sleeping or snacking, she’s beside me. Though I got to be careful! She’s always trying to steal a lick of my dish! A very curious cat, I’m a lucky mom to have an enthusiastic darling.

take my hand dearie

I’m going to be a cat mom!
Last Friday night I went to an animal shelter looking to offer my services to foster a cat, but I found myself falling in love with a two year old black American shorthair. Indigo was friendly, the first cat to lick my fingers on her own accord. Quiet and reserved yet welcoming of all belly scratches, I went home that night unable to stop thinking about her.
So I went back the next day. She was curled up in a little bed in a middle crate, but when Indigo saw me she started pacing in her little room. When I went over to pet her – made a beeline straight to her really – she kept trying to stand up on her hind legs. I realized quickly she wanted to be held and I picked her up in my arms where she nestled comfortably.
She’s my family now. In my head. In two days, I will officially be welcoming her home.
I’ve been waking up dreaming about cats, excited but there’s worry in it too. I fear I jumped in too impulsively and financially I will not be able to take care of her in the future. Here I am, living all by myself and just learning to pay all my bills, am I ready to take care of another life?
But I can’t imagine her in anyone else’s life. I want to give her the best life. I believe that desire will help me do just that.
Unfortunately, there’s another stress: I cannot tell my parents I am getting a cat. They believe that I will move in with them when my lease expires. They see me living on my own as an experiment that will teach me life is too rough and I will go back to them. They live in an apartment that doesn’t allow cats so they made it clear I couldn’t get one because what if I have to live with them again?
Yes, expenses are high – rent, insurance, grocery, electric and Wifi and on top of all this cat bills. But how can it be that I live on my own and I am still plagued by what my parents think of me?
I’m a loner girl whose only constant in her life was her parents. Yet, their love always feels conditional – like if I don’t meet their expectations they’ll stop loving me.
I didn’t tell them when I bought a car. I didn’t tell them I was moving out until I got my keys. I can’t tell them I will have a precious life I am responsible for. They see me as impulsive – and I am. But I follow through. How can I know what I am capable of if my parents fear hold me back?
I know being a cat mom isn’t like having an actual baby (thank goodness, nowhere close to that yet at 22), but I have so much love to give. If I can share a little bit of the little luck I have with a precious life, I have to take that chance.
My favorite quote is by Emily Dickinson: if I can stop one heart from breaking in vain, I shall not live in vain. I hope I can make that difference.