“Why aren’t you at Sturgis?” asked the cat.
“I’m not going this year,” she said, putting down her tote bag, digging in it for the cat food.
“Did you go last year?”
“The year before?”
“Have you ever gone to Sturgis for the biker party?”
“They why did you say it as if you’d been there before, but you weren’t going this year?”
“Because I thought it was a silly question.”
“Think about it,” she said, putting the sardines in front of him.
“You don’t have a bike?”
“You’re doing it again,” he said.
“Living in the books you’re reading. I can always tell, because you have that faraway look in your eyes, as if you’re seeing the here and now from somewhere else.”
“You’re a very smart cat.”
“Where are you?”
“London,” she said.
“Charing Cross Road, again?”
“Yes, and Paris too, since I’m reading the letters of the lost generation.”
“Are the letters interesting?”
“Not at all. I don’t think I can read many more of them. Dull, boring and I don’t care. Plus, do you think any of us know what our lives look like backward? I’ve had people say things to me, about my life, that don’t make any sense to me, but they see my life in a certain way. Is that what we all do to everyone?”
“Yes,” said the cat, licking the plate. “That’s exactly what we do.”
“So while most of us don’t think anything is really happening, other people think it is?”
“So a lot of people miss out on their own lives because they can see it.”
“They don’t miss out on their lives, their lives seem normal and even mundane, while other see the lives of others as exciting and wonderful..”
“Is anything in life not depressing?”
“Yes. Cats and sometimes bunnies.”
She stared at him for a minute, then started laughing. “You’re right.”
“Cats and bunnies. It’s all so simple, when you look at it that way.”
“Life can be simple, you guys just complicate everything. Too many of you think the old days were better than now, and aside from the stupid virus, think about not having antibiotics or toothpaste, indoor plumbing, or the ability to travel. Most people were still poor, there wasn’t even a middle class, and kids had to sharpen their pencils with a knife, while today, kids can’t even go out without a helmet. But you don’t really care about the past, other than the artists in Paris in the 30s and 40s. And think about the times before that in Europe with those gigantic skirts and wigs and drinking arsenic to have thin skin so you could seem the wine go down your throat when you swallowed wine. They didn’t even have screens or air conditioning.”
“I just like Paris now.”
“You never lived there. Places are different when you live there. You said all the young people you spoke to couldn’t wait to come to America.”
“Yes. Every one of them. I asked them why and they couldn’t believe I had to ask. I said but you live in Paris!!!! and the looked around and said, ‘There’s nothing here, I want to go to California, or New York.'”
“Grass…greener,” said the cat. “They never lived in New York, or in California. And they wouldn’t say that now.”
She smiled. “True. You know, we spend our entire lives learning and then we die.”
“Learning is automatic. You can’t help but do it.”
“No matter how much we learn it’s just a little bit and what does it mean? Even Einstein lived a small life in his head. He hardly paid attention to his family and then he died and left us with E=m2. I mean, I realize the importance of what he did, but still.”
“I am?” she said.
“You think there’s a point to anything, and there isn’t.”
“And the things we leave behind, the things we’ve loved, no one else wants those things because what’s meaningful to one, isn’t meaningful to anyone else, so it’s given away, sold, or put into the garbage. I know that’s the way life is. It’s just that…”
“You need to read some of your monster books. Vampires, werewolves, demons, those kinds of books. You don’t get this way when you read those.”
“Okay,” she said. “I’m getting a new Sandman Slim book later this month.”
“I can’t wait,” he said. “Then you’ll want to fight and be crazy again.”
“You like me better that way?”
“Oh, Kittens Whiskers, yes,” he said. “All this moping around and moodiness, thinking of a past that never really existed, is pathetic.”
“You’re right again. I’ll watch something silly and read monster books.”
“Do you think people were nicer in the past? More civilized?”
“Absolutely not. People didn’t have choices and were strangled by rules that kept them in place. And, people always killed each other.”
“”I watched Buffy the other night.”
“So nothing. That’s my go to, no brainer, silly, badly made, fabulous film. It’s very philosophical and has many lessons in it. Shows how superficial life can be and how things change when you wake up.”
“If you say so.”
“I do. Do cats dance?”
“Cats do everything. Why do you ask?”
She shrugged. “Just wondering.”
Jinx walked out from under a bush. “Hello,” he said.
She ran her hand down his back and fed him.
“Thank you,” he purred.
They talked for a bit longer and she left.
“Are you going to dance with her?” asked Jinx.
“Someday,” said the cat.
“I think she’s like that,” said Jinx, curling up for a nap. “I think she’d like that a lot.”