Excuse me, you’re standing on my neck
As if I were Fievel, the little Russian animated illegal alien mouse in “An American Tail” who becomes separated from his family and frequently bursts into the power ballad “Somewhere Out There,” I have been feeling missed a lot lately. Except I don’t sing. And I’m usually not all that animated. And I’m not a mouse. Which wouldn’t go over so well, because Teva and Isabel seem like sweethearts but around bugs and vermin they transform into vicious, crafty killers and would slice me like cauliflower in a Cuisinart.
Maybe that’s a bad simile. I’m sort of a failure in the kitchen. I’m not really sure what a Cuisinart does. Dice. Puree. Taxes. Whatever Cuisinarts do, Isabel and Teva would do that.
Anyway, as I was saying, I am missed. When Mom was crushing my rib cage during a Hulk-hug goodbye at the Cleveland airport, she said between tears and heavy sighs, “I only get two out of 52 weeks with you every year. It’s not enough.” Without thinking, I corrected her: “We went to North Carolina and Vermont, and then I even came home for the holidays. It was more like two and a half or three weeks.” Mistake.
Mom was dropping me off so I could catch a flight to Canada to see my girlfriend Lindsay, who lives in Toronto, hundreds of miles away from my hometown of Boston. I’ve spent the past several years single and saving money on razors by growing out my leg hair. Now I’m not single but still saving money on razors by growing out my leg hair between visits. Silver lining. When we’re together, we can’t keep our hands to ourselves, to the extent that I RSVP-ed to an upcoming party in February with a plus-two and a warning: “Lindsay, our PDA and I will definitely be there.” We kiss in crosswalks waiting for the traffic lights to turn. We sit smushed up against each other at restaurants, because the opposite side of the table is so. far. away. We’re the couple I used to stab with dagger eyes.
Lindsay won’t be back in Boston for another few weeks, and we miss each other madly. Due to the distance, we have the opportunity to go sightseeing only once a month. In the absence of sightseeing, which is nothing like actual sightseeing unless you’re an exhibitionist, we often resort to sexting. Thanks to iPhone’s autocorrect, our sexting resembles passages from the naughty but typo-ridden book that David Sedaris sears in his short story, “Next of Kin.” A young David stumbles upon the dirty tome and proceeds to pass it from one Sedaris to the next, its salacious tales of hard “cecks” and wet “pissies” scandalizing him and his school-age siblings. But like the budding essayist and his poorly written porn, Lindsay and I make the most of it, spending as much time aroused as amused. She has nice tots.
I’m still getting accustomed to having a girlfriend again. I can’t seem to stop saying the word, like a toddler who’s just learned the meaning and power of “No!” Who’s Lindsay? My girlfriend. For whom am I head over heels? My girlfriend. Who sweetly sleeps on my shoulder with her head tucked under my chin and arms wrapped around me every night? My cat Isabel. Why do you ask?
Because I traveled to Cleveland and then Toronto, I was away from Teva and Isabel for nine days, which is nine days longer than Isabel can stand for us to be apart. Teva is less affectionate and more independent than Isabel, who hasn’t left my side – and my head – since I’ve been back. Because she’s relieved and loves me so much for coming home. Or she wants to Cuisinart me for leaving.
Perhaps some might find all this attention and neck-standing suffocating, figuratively or literally, but not me. It does, however, take my breath away to have so many dear people wishing I were near. Yes, I just called Isabel and Teva people. They are.
So, kittens. Who’s missing you?