Max, The Once Baby Kitten
Today is one of those days in which I am awash in a melancholic nostalgia. It is how I feel when I look at vintage black and white photographs and imagine that I know all the characters.
I keep remembering how grey afternoons used seem so long, like today's long grey afternoon, especially in this second-story apartment that I lived in. I would sit on the musty carpet in the bay window and let my cat at the time, Max, nurse on my buttons.
Not long after that, Max lost all of his sweetness and became a beast who attacked people's eyes and left bloody claw marks on my shoulders at night, but at that time, he was a gentle baby kitten who nursed on my clothing. He sucked the silk off the buttons on my pajamas, but I did not mind. He had this way of curling up on my lap and closing his eyes into his thick, grey face that made me feel very lucid and light.
Later, he lived with my ex-girlfriend, because she was the only one he did not attempt to maim or kill, and then even later, he was shipped out to a farm where everyone who knew him hoped that a coyote got to him, but that is not what I remember most. I remember him most as the kitten with thick fur who surely would have called me momma if he had been one degree smarter and not on the verge of going feral.
This afternoon, I feel like my memory of him: suspended in this blended middle of a calm that is not calm between two extremes. I could go either way, I could go anywhere, but I am staying firm and sipping coffee right here. It feels powerful and delicious to pull on both ends.