Mary

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“Are you really bringing Mary to Athens?”

My sister responds with a picture message of her cat sitting on the floor of her car.

She tells me she couldn’t leave her at our dad’s house, which I understand. It is far better for Mary to be an inconvenience than ignored.

Three hours later, Lea is in my apartment and Mary is settled. She scurries around the vicinity, taking in flashes of her new surroundings. It doesn’t take long for her to become comfortable, and she darts into my room for a more thorough exploration.

But Claire sees her, and naturally, Mary has to approach any new being she encounters.

“Oh no. Why is there a cat in here?”

Minutes later, Lea spies Mary in Claire’s arms.

Lea thinks that Mary was born erratic. Claire told me that since she’s technically still a kitten, she’s still in the phase where she wants to play with everything – and for her, playing is clawing and biting whatever comes her way. I say she experienced a somewhat terrifying event as a baby. Why else would she always be on the defense? Whatever the back-story may be, one cannot deny that there is something about Mary – it’s just hard to determine whether this something is a good thing.

Despite the threat of attack that still exists after her recent declawing, you want to touch her more than anything.
You want to cuddle with her and hold her like a baby. You want to scratch her chin and feel her fur that’s so soft you swear there’s a rabbit gene somewhere in her chemistry. Getting to feel her fur for a number of seconds is worth whatever scratches and bite marks she inflicts on you – yes, she’s that fluffy. She’s so fluffy that she feels luxurious, and it doesn’t even have to make sense.

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She’s so fluffy that she looks fat – she’s actually very skinny, though, which was proved the time she decided to jump into the bathtub with my sister.

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She holds a fascination with anything that is bathtub. If you shut her in the bathroom, the first thing Mary does is run to the ledge of the tub and hide between the shower curtain and its plastic liner. Always. She does it when I shut her in my bathroom before we leave. It is out of respect and precaution.
I have already been blamed for Mary’s great escape in December. I am not about to put up with this demented animal’s antics again.

She darts.

She invades spaces and claims new territories – atop a desk or buried away in a closet.

Earlier today I spied her trying to climb my coat.

She has taken a peculiar liking to a large Ziploc bag back home, and likes to lie inside it, face out, like she’s inside a transparent sleeping bag. She’s staring at my sister in the photo. She always stares.
I still don’t understand how a creature without thumbs can warp this way.

But then again, I don’t really understand much about her.

Late last night, I awoke to find her nestled beside my legs. She looked straight at me, her eyes yellow and wide like twin full moons.
She didn’t race up to swat my face or pounce on my thigh when I turned. She just sat there and stared at me. She might have even been purring.
Mary and I had officially formed a bond.

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Lycidas Part 2

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The things I’ll do to get out of homework can get pretty weird. In the past week, I’ve cleaned my entire apartment, rearranged my room, stayed at paper meetings until the last three people there wanted to go home, and made a Facebook account for my dog – yes, I have reached an all-time low.  On Monday, while I was developing a case of writer’s block, I decided to finally buy some vacuum cleaner bags because my room was a mess and I was tired of seeing my hair on the floor. (It has a nasty habit of falling out. Ask anyone I know.) Google told me that Walmart was the only place that sold Oreck vacuum bags, so I went there.
In order to access the cleaning section, I had to walk past the pet section, which is interestingly adjacent to the electronics and entertainment section. I peered down an aisle and saw fishtanks, remembering that I had wanted to get a fish for a while. Let me refresh your memory – or, if you didn’t read my last Lycidas post, catch you up – I took a Milton class last semester, and one of the poems I had to read, Lycidas, was an elegy for one of Milton’s friends who had drowned. I thought it would be really funny to get a fish and name it Lycidas, because yeah, fish can live underwater. There! Now you’re caught up! But I had to wait for a while. You see, I didn’t want to get a fish before I went to Austria, because I was worried that whoever I entrusted with taking care of it would accidentally let it die. Inadvertently letting your fish starve to death while you’re in Europe is just not fair.
But I wasn’t in Europe anymore. I wasn’t going anywhere for a while. I decided that I had finally come across an opportune moment for a fish. I had been eating vegetables. I had been cleaning ferociously. I was writing weekly. Clearly I was responsible enough for a fish! And here, in a Walmart, I had come across the coolest fish in the world.
And this is how Lycidas came into my life.
Lycidas is the first animal I’ve gotten since I left for school. The only one. I don’t really count Norman because Norman is a plant. Lycidas is my animal, and mine alone. This means that I really want everything to go perfectly and have been freaking out over a fish. I watch him to make sure he eats his food – he’s a little bad at this; at the moment, I’m not sure whether he’s still adjusting to living somewhere else, just not hungry at the moment, or dumb. Or I guess he could have a tiny appetite. Thanks to Dr. Seuss, I believe that fish have enormous appetites. Or I could be basing that off my own appetite. Anyway, I’m trying really hard not to screw up because I feel like fish are really easy to kill. Oh, and because I now believe that my credibility as a responsible person depends on my fish’s life.
I suppose you want to see a picture. Here is Lycidas in all his Instagram glory:

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I told you he was the coolest. And here is again, once he finally became a little less camera-shy. He had to adjust to his new environment, you know.

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