This started our dark and bleak before it took a turn for the better at the end. It ended up a cute story appropriate for Caturday.
The window reflected her own pale face back at her as the rain beat a staccato rhythm on her windowsill that echoed through the night.
It was hard to believe that there was a whole world out there, a world of people and things and sounds and smells and sights. Not when all she saw was her own ghostly visage staring back at her and beyond that the darkness outside her window, her only soundtrack the endless drumming of the rain outside, never ending.
She’d always been a loner type, she has been perfectly happy with that arrangement, but as years slowly passed her by she began to wonder if she hadn’t been missing something. That there was some piece of an inner puzzle that she was lacking. Something that made her incomplete as a person.
She’d told herself that the situations portrayed on television weren’t quite true, not even the staged scenes from reality shows. There was always some director there, a producer and a script involved in some manner. They displayed what people expected and what was expected had been a creation from the very start.
Yet she was still left with a feeling that maybe there was a grain of truth to it, a truth that existed out there in how people were supposed to live and interact amongst each other. How you were supposed to live your life.
She didn’t make many friends in school, because she felt she had little need for them, she had no need of a huge group when just one or two people to talk to was more than enough for her.
But then she acted rather poorly and foolishly. Slowly, but very surely, through moving away and moving on she lost those friends. She found herself constantly trying to replace the holes filled by those people, just so she would have someone to talk to and she realized that that was something that got harder as time went by. As an adult you cannot just approach people at random and ask that they become your friend.
By the time she was well into adulthood, working a regular 9 to 5 job she found that she was in the minority when it came to the number of friends she had, the number of people she was in contact with. Most people at her workplace knew friends from school and sometimes even further back, they had different groups of friends and acquaintances for different occasions. One group to go to parties with, one to sit and home and watch movies with. One for simple dinner parties.
She wasn’t sure how she’d classify the few people she had let into her life, people she didn’t feel that close with simple because she had not known them for long and had not dared to let them get too close to her.
That was another thing that had happened; she had found it harder to trust people, to share her deepest darkest secrets and troubles with them…Simply because she wasn’t sure how long they’d stay around. If they left the next week, she didn’t want them to take something important of hers with them. Steal away a part of her heart like some had. Keeping them at a safe distance was a survival mechanism.
But that left her where she was now, alone in her apartment while she felt all wrapped up in darkness and the pounding of the rain. Alone with her worries and anxieties and no friend to rely on for comfort and support.
She suddenly envied the people at work, even the ones she loathed, because even they seemed to have a nice social safety net of people they could trust. They always had someone there to talk to.
The rain kept pounding down outside, echoing the pounding of her head, the headache that had slowly sneaked up on her during the course of the grey and gloomy day. It was one of those days when it never did get truly light out, when she never switched off the lamp perched on her window sill.
As always she had to try and go inside herself to pull her out of these mind spaces, but it was unusually hard today. What day was it anyway? Friday? Saturday? Sunday? It must be the weekend, because she was certain that she’d not gone off to work today. While she had these moods before she’d never felt so out of it that she’d forgotten to go off to work. At least she hoped that was still the case.
She went off to check her cellphone, the poor thing that had never seen as much use as any other cellphone. Other people seemed to be in constant contact with their cellphones, playing games or surfing the web or talking, talking, talking to some friend or other. She never saw the point of chatting on the phone, maybe because her few friends were never worth a long discussion. Besides, she had never felt all that comfortable around phones.
No, there were no missed calls. No one at work had called her today and she was sure that if she’d missed any work they would have called her up to see where she was at. That was a small comfort at least. If she up and died, then at least they would call and see if she was alive. Though only once and they’d hardly head off to her apartment to check on her.
Was she destined to become one of those people they wrote about in the newspapers, who died and wasn’t found until she’d started to smell?
She had had very dark mind spaces sometimes, yet one thing that did pull her out of the darkest spirals was that thought, that she didn’t want to end up rotting into her carpets if she died.
A small thing to be sure, but it helped her.
She finally turned away from the window, there wasn’t anything to see out there anyway and she began to stare down her darkened television set instead. It did not offer any comfort either. It did occur to her to turn it on, just to hear the sound of another human voice, but there was never anything good on.
There was the computer too, but right now no webpages, no social media sites felt truly worth checking. Her Facebook page had been all but abandoned.
She considered going to bed, but it felt too early. Or was it really?
She was about to crawl in between the covers when she heard a small sound coming from outside, that echoed in the rainy night. It was high-pitched and shrill, a bit like a baby, but not quite.
There was a short mental debate, but somehow her curiosity won out in the end and besides…The sound was annoying enough that it would have made it hard to fall asleep.
She pulled on a thick sweater, her rubber boots. She probably looked a mess, with her hair standing up in all directions, but she didn’t care.
Outside it felt damp and wet and cold, her breath misting into white puffs, but she could hear the sound quite clearly now. It was coming from under the lilac bushes over by the swing set, making a squeaking sound as the chains swung back and forth in the wind.
She shuffled over and crouched down for a closer look.
It was a kitten, crying loudly and completely soaked.
It was hard to tell what it really looked like or even what color it was in the wet gloom. As the rain continued to fall of the both of them the kitten looked more like a wet rat.
When it saw her it stopped crying and huddled up in a shivering pile by the roots of one of the bushes. She wasn’t sure if it was shivering from cold or fear. Maybe it was a little of both.
She reached out and managed to grab onto it and stuff it under her sweater.
The kitten squirmed and she could feel its tiny claws prickle her, like several tiny needles at once. It quickly resigned itself to this new treatment, or maybe it simply did not have the energy to struggle anymore. The wet fur soaked into her shirt and skin, creating a damp patch on her chest, but she didn’t care. In fact, part of her felt like she deserved that bit of unpleasantness.
Back inside she found some clean towels and dried the kitten. Slowly, gently. She had tried to use the hairdryer, but that spooked the thing bad enough that it clawed up her hands.
Maybe she deserved that bit of pain too.
She wrapped the kitten up in another towel while she changed into something dry and comfortable herself and by the time she was done the kitten looked almost normal, curled up on top of the towel.
It was a grey tabby with a few white patches, one on its nose and four white mittens. Inside her chest she felt something constrict, something she hadn’t felt for a long time.
She carefully picked up the kitten and cradled it against her chest after carefully discarding the towel as it appeared that the kitten had done its business inside it.
Soon the kitten was purring against her chest, a low comforting rumble, so very different from the miserable crying that had emanated from it before. Its tiny paws reached out, kneading into her chest. Together they curled up on her bed and slept.
When she woke up in the morning something felt different. The kitten mewled at her and she found it something to eat in her fridge. There were some ham that was about to go bad and some skim milk. She had a vague idea that cats shouldn’t have milk, but the kitten seemed okay with it. She diluted the milk with some water just to be safe.
It was still grey and drizzly outside, but inside she didn’t feel quite so bad.
She crouched down next to the kitten and immediately it began to rub itself against her hand, purring, purring. Always purring. Its blue eyes were the color of sapphires and its nose was the color of a marzipan rose, the ones she always plucked from the center of her birthday cakes when she was a child.
“Your name is Marzipan”, she said to the kitten who made a mewling sound in agreement.
After that day everything seemed a little lighter. There was always someone to greet her when she got back from work. She had a reason to get up in the morning when she didn’t have work, because Marzipan had to be fed and her litter changed. And when she went to bed at night Marzipan would always curl up next to her and the sound of her purring would lull her to sleep.
Without her, she knew that Marzipan probably would have died out there in the cold rain. Abandoned and alone. Marzipan had needed her, just like she had needed Marzipan.
They were both survivors of a sort and together they’d be okay. Maybe not always great, but they’d be okay.
Marzipan the cat and Rose the human.