He’s been screaming at her for the past hour, and she’s almost at her breaking point. She tries to get him to be quiet, afraid of what the neighbors must think. Why does she put herself through this? But then she remembers – sometimes when he’s asleep, she watches him breathe, wonders what he’s dreaming about. He can be so sweet at times.
“You want to leave? Then go already! Why don’t you just f*ing go?!”
He paces back and forth across the living room, ignoring her questions.
“What the hell is keeping you here? If you’re so unhappy, why don’t you walk out the door? And take all your shit with you, while you’re at it.”
He walks back over to where she is sitting on the couch, and she thinks that maybe he’s calmed down until the screaming starts all over again. This time she’s had it. She stares right back at him and laughs, cruelly.
“Oh that’s right. You can’t walk out that door, can you? Because you don’t have opposable thumbs! Scream all you want, but you’re not going anywhere, are you?!”
He paces in front of the door some more, tries to peer underneath the crack, then stretches up to rattle the doorknob.
“Tapping it’s not gonna work. Just turn it, you big baby! All you have to do is turn it to the right a little. I don’t know why you’re yelling at me – I’m not stopping you!”
He gives up, for the moment, and she hears the crunching sound of him eating some food in the kitchen.
“I should, you know. I should let you leave.”
He’s drinking some water now.
“You think it’s fun out there? You think there are bowls of food just lying around on every street corner? You wouldn’t have the first clue what to do if I actually let you outside. I mean, look at how fat you’ve gotten. Christ, it looks like you’re pregnant!”
But deep down, she knows that she’s really trying to convince herself of this. In reality, he would do just fine on his own. He’s very resourceful and quite charming when he wants to be. And he’s not afraid to ask for what he wants. He is the squeaky wheel that will always get the oil.
He tries to leave her every chance he gets. He’s made it down the stairs a few times, but she always gets him back. She thinks about not chasing after him this time. Still, though, the thought of losing him terrifies her. She tries to reconcile.
“Look, just come over and sit with me, will you? Come on. Come here, please? I’m sorry I said your ass looked like an Easter ham. You’re really in pretty good shape for being neutered.”
She strokes his face and holds his thumbless hands. He lays his head on her chest and they fall asleep together.


16 Responses to “Leave”

  1. Tracy Lynn Says:

    AHH, life with kitties.

  2. sandra Says:

    You’ve just made me want a cat, and I don’t even like them much.

  3. shari Says:

    Oh sure, I’m all prepared to send in the posse and rescue the woman from this abuse; and then, in a cruel twist of plot, the abuser becomes the imprisoned, and then is further reduced to a fuzzy, pudgy kitty cat who would purr in my ear! It will take me 2 hours to come down from the adrenaline surge because I don’t HAVE a fuzzy, pudgy kitty to purr in my ear and calm me. You’re just a mean girl, Jenny Amadeo.

  4. Jessica Says:

    Well, thank God I’m not the only one having this conversation with my cat (who, incidentally, has somehow decided that he’s in charge of the freakin’ house and its occupants).

  5. breadandbread Says:

    Beautiful. Nuanced. Cathartic (as I write this, my cat is curled up on my suitcase. What could he possibly be trying to say?).

  6. jenny Says:

    Tracy Lynn: It’s a difficult life, isn’t it?
    sandra: If this story made you want a cat, then you are a glutton for punishment! :)
    shari: I would never toy with your emotions, shari! Besides, you have a fuzzy, pudgy puppy to purr, or whatever dogs do, in your ear.
    Jess: They control my life, it’s true.
    Cheryl: He feels abandonned by you. He wishes you would buy him some catnip mice. He just puked in your suitcase.

  7. Jessica Says:

    Jen, by the way – I need you to vote for my bad art entry again….see post for details.
    Thanks much, friend.

  8. Kevin Says:

    And here I thought I needed to prepare myself for a follow-up post in which you are responding to questions from the CPD about the murder of your neighbor’s girlfriend/wife/mistress.
    “Ms. Run… er Amadeo, how well do you know your neighbors?”

  9. ms. sizzle Says:

    so true, so very true…

  10. Darby Says:

    “Ms. Run” gives me a mental image of the header tap-dancer graphic girl wearing 1980s-era hip-hop clothes…

  11. jenny Says:

    jess: consider it done!
    kevin: no, the only dysfunctional relationship in my building is right in my apartment…
    sizz: clearly, you’re a cat owner. :)
    darby: Oh, don’t be so formal! Ms. Run is my mother. Call me Run Jen.

  12. ashbloem Says:

    You’ve just described, like, every evening at my place. Only, instead of one cat, there are three. And one of them does, in fact, look like an easter ham.

  13. nicole Says:

    So cute…I’ll take two.

  14. Roy Says:

    The funniest thing about this is re-reading it, knowing it’s about your cat. “And take all your shit with you while you’re at it!” That’s hilarious. My cat doesn’t have opposable thumbs either, which means, of course, that he’s always knocking the chess pieces over, and he doesn’t even use the knight because it’s just too difficult.

  15. jenny Says:

    ash: but one of your cats is a one-eyed pirate, which is kind of cool.
    nicole: you sure about that? ’cause I’ve got two, and MAAAANNN are they loud!
    roy: cats can’t even play Chinese checkers! Babies. That’s why we should get monkeys with thumbs and tails. Monkeys for everyone!

  16. nina Says:

    I almost got to the point where I could love cats. Almost. Then I found out that the reason my guy was late the other day and came without the promised groceries was because his cat chose to recline on top of his chest in the most sublime way for hours on end. I’m trying to not think murderous thoughts about the feline set and those who love ‘em more than roses. I’m trying.