Monday, August 4, 2008

Writing: Feline Defenestration

I haven’t done it yet but I’m about to do it even though I know I shouldn’t do it. I know she doesn’t want me to do it either because she’s all fur and claws, all wriggling and writhing desperation. Holding onto her is hard enough; she’s never gone in much for holding. She’s always all wriggling and writhing and fur and claws when you try to hold her, but not desperate like now. Now she knows that something bad is going to happen, and I know it too, and I know I shouldn’t do it, but I’m going to do it anyway.

She’s all twisty and squirmy; I’m holding her right on the ledge, thinking about it, thinking about should I do it and what’s going to happen and will she do it, and her claws are clinging like mad to the aluminum frame, making a desperate, panicky clicking sound, a scraping sound I can’t stand, and she’s clawing at my hands and turning round her neck and rolling her eyeballs around in their neat little sockets. I want to know what will happen. I want to know will she land on her feet. I stretch my neck out the window and feel the wind outside on my cheeks. My mom’s car is parked in the driveway down below.

The thing is, she looks really big and fat, but it’s all just fur. When you grab her, which isn’t easy, you feel how small she is, you feel her bones, all rattling and twisting, and her tiny heart pounding real fast. You put you hand around her neck and you feel how it’s so tiny, how tiny her head is, her skull. So tiny, under all that big fur, just a tiny little motor driving those claws, desperately scratching at the window frame while I hold her out in the wind, through the window, in mid-air. I shouldn’t do it, but I do. I want to know, will she land on her feet. I let go.

I don’t—I didn’t—I don’t know why—what did I—

The sun goes black a moment when I squinch my eyes and I do not see whether she did it. Everything is hot, and rushing, and tears, and what did I do, and I’m running down the stairs and I’m crying and I’m shouting “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry,” and my parents are downstairs and I see them. They look at me and I run to them and I blurt “I threw the cat out the window,” and my confession is immediate and my remorse is immediate and my forgiveness is immediate and my father is out the door to find her and my mother is hugging me and asking me what happened and what did I do and why did I do it.

I cannot tell her that I wanted to know would she land on her feet. I cannot tell her that at school we sing a song that has a chorus that goes “and he threw her out the window, the window, the second story window,” which is not about a cat but is instead a silly song, with nursery rhymes, where Mary Mary quite contrary’s garden gets thrown out the window, and Peter Peter pumpkin eater’s wife gets thrown out the window. I can’t tell her that I wanted to know would she land on her feet, and I didn’t even wait to see if she did. All I did was hear a loud noise, a heavy thud, a bad, sick sound, and close my eyes and cry. My arms are covered in scratches that are bleeding. My mom asks did she scratch me. I keep crying and nod my head. “Did you do it because she scratched you?” she asks, and I keep crying through my squinched up eyes and nod my head while my mom hugs me and holds my hot face in the tender, forgiving darkness of her silk blouse, ruined with my snotty tears.

My dad comes back into the house holding the cat, who’s wriggling all around, wide-eyed and fearful, who has blood dribbling down her nose, but is otherwise very much alive. My dad tells us that she had run four blocks away but that he had caught her, and he takes her into the kitchen, holding her under his arm, washing the blood away, his hand at the tap. She is okay. She is okay. My dad says that he thinks the car broke her fall. He doesn’t say whether she landed on her feet. I think that if she had landed on her feet, her nose would not be bleeding. I think that if she had landed on her nose she would not be alive. He holds her for awhile and tries to soothe her while my mother holds me the same way. I do not have to tell him why I did it. My mom tells him that I did it because she scratched me. It is implied that I know that what I did was wrong in all my tears and shouting. I am not punished. We do not talk about it ever.
The cat hates me now. The cat was never nice; her mother was an alley cat we adopted when we moved to the new house and my mom saw she was pregnant. All the kittens were born in the middle of the night while I was sleeping; she gave birth inside a suitcase lined with my My Little Pony blanket, which got ruined from blood and placenta and tiny mewling hairless things: five of them. At night, I would sleep on the couch while they would play, climbing on the drapes and tearing them with holes, and in the morning I would wake up with a whole puddle of black and white fur snuggling in my lap. My mom said we could keep one and would have to give the other four away. She gave away my favorite one. Their mom had been mean and taught them all to hunt, to scratch and claw and bite. I remember how she got sick when we started giving the kittens away. She looked and looked for the missing ones, and made low, long howling sound in her throat. She threw up everywhere. After that she hated my mom, and got even more mean until she got hit by a car one day and died. Now her daughter hates me, and runs away every time I come near. Even though she’s okay, even though she’s lived almost fifteen years now since then, she remembers to hate me. Even though she’s too dumb to remember anything else, like her own name, or the whistle my mom uses to try and call her, she remembers to hate me for what I did when I was seven, in the name of science, of experiment, curiosity. It didn’t kill the cat.

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