Every Saturday morning, Mom drove Petra and I to ballet. Petra’s class started first, so I sat in a small waiting room downstairs on a hard bench covered in a rectangle of cheap beige carpet.
One day, a brown-haired boy with a pleasant, slightly rat-like face passed by in his ballet clothes. He glanced into the room and went on his way.
After a minute, he returned and stared me down from the doorway. Then he walked into the room, picked up the trash can and emptied its contents over my head. He seemed satisfied with his decision, so he repeated it every week.
Two orange tabby brothers followed us home in December. They lived with us for five weeks, snuggling, wrestling, running around like madmen and punching each other in the face, until their owners saw our “found” signs (which had been posted in front of their house for weeks).
Chupa misses them a ton. They shredded furniture, ate Kolinsky brushes and laptop screens, farted intense farts on our laps, pawed wet paintings and shoved my brush around whenever I painted, but they were cute and soft fuzzballs.
Several years ago, Mom and I visited Japan during cherry blossom season. While there, Mom found out that her mom had cancer and was awaiting surgery in the hospital.
That night, Mom lay on the bed in our room at the ryokan. “Emmie, my mom is sick . . . what if I lose her?” she asked.
I tried to think of something kind and comforting to say.“Well, she is 86,” I said.