Putting Down

Leave a comment

June 7, 2011 by The Citron Review

by Francesca Thompson

 

And just as soon as we thought that the snows were over for the season, a late March flurry was upon us. We decided to take a walk, me wrapped in a tartan wool pea coat, you in a gray sweatshirt. It was dark, late evening. We made it to the frozen, boatless harbor where we took a seat on the cement. You, distant. Me, freezing. There was a little painted picture of a diving man, encased in a red circle, a line through his torso. A warning. We clutched thermoses of hot coffee we’d made before leaving the apartment. We smoked cigarettes. We didn’t talk about ourselves. We talked about Julian the cat.

“He just keeps shitting in that little space behind the toilet,” you said, shaking your head.

“Why?”

I took a pull on my cigarette. “I don’t know,” I said before I exhaled a cloud. The smoke and the moisture from my breath mingled, both white on the air. They were indistinguishable from one another. “Maybe he needs attention.”

“Cats don’t want attention,” you said. “Cats are solitary creatures. They can be tricky bastards when they want something, but they don’t give affection freely. They are wholly self-centered creatures.”

“Maybe he wants something.”

“Like what? He has everything he could ever want or need. He snarfs down that specialty cat food. He gets all my old socks. And the little feathery thing attached to the stick. He loves that.”

“He hasn’t played with that in forever,” I said. The snow fell around us slowly, making small noises as it drifted onto the thin layer of ice resting atop the lake, where it was consumed. To our right the city skyline loomed, fully alive with yellow light. The pier stretched out onto the lake; the Ferris wheel twinkled like a giant eye.

I remembered the day we got Julian from the shelter. I had wanted a cat for a long time. I wanted something warm and comforting to touch when I turned away from you in bed, to remind me that I was alive. I didn’t mention this to you. I only told you I thought we should get a cat. After months of ignoring my request, you gave in only to shut me up.

I wanted a cat with socks, the kind with paws that were a different color from the rest of the coat. Julian didn’t have socks. But as soon as we saw him at the shelter, a fat orange cat curled up in the corner of a metal cage like a discarded blanket, you told me he was our cat. I couldn’t disagree. He blinked at us as we stared down at him through the cage bars.

That Halloween I dressed Julian up like Cupid. He wore a paper quiver of pink arrows on his back, and little white booties with hearts I’d painted on. He was quite indifferent about this, neither thrilled nor disgruntled. You laughed. Our friends laughed, scratched his head. He didn’t mind. You kissed me on the couch, you as Superman and me as a pirate wench, while Julian purred, perched on the back of the couch behind our heads. This was before he’d started hiding and walking strangely, stopped using his litter box.

“If he gets too sick, think we probably have to put him down,” you said finally, the thing you’d been meaning to say, the reason you started the conversation. “When cats start doing weird things like that, I think that’s when it’s time. It’s a sign of a more serious problem.”

I was silent for a moment, watching my breath drift away from me, across the ice. We sat right next to each other, our arms touching, but our warmth would not pass through all the layers.

 

Francesca Thompson is a fiction and freelance writer living in Los Angeles, California by way for Chicago. Her fiction has been published in Chicago’s Union League Journal, Carnegie Melon’s Print Oriented Bastards, Hair Trigger editions 32 and 33, The Interlochen Review, and others. She is an avid volunteer, working with Habitat for Humanity Okiciyapi Tipi in South Dakota, and with Chicago Public Schools. All she needs to survive is a French press, a good book, and a clean, well-lighted place.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Mushrooms

🍋10th Anniversary

Fall 2019 IssueSeptember 23rd, 2019
Cheers to 10 great years!

🍋 Instagram

Grab a two foot scrap of wood and step up to home plate with Ronald Hartley in "Batting Stones." https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/batting-stones/ Hartley's stories have been published by Sky Island Journal, Literary Juice, After the Pause, Gravel Magazine and Mobius: The Journal for Social Change. #amreading #flashfiction
We're reading for our Winter Issue, but a deadline is coming soon. Please consider submitting your best poetry, flash, and micros before December 1. Our editors will continue reading creative nonfiction through the new year, but we'd love to see your excellent work even sooner. https://citronreview.com/submission/ #TheCitronReview #onlinejournal #briefliterature #celebratingtheshortform #cheersto10years #Citron10 #callforsubmissions #poetry #cnf #fiction
Marissa Hoffman's creative nonfiction covers the directions that a life may take in "A Route Plan From Dad to Dad." https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/a-route-plan-from-dad-to-dad/ #amreading #flashcnf Marissa Hoffman has published FlashBack Fiction, Bending Genres, and The Drabble. She is a fiction reader for Atticus Review.
Managing Editor Eric Steineger illuminates ten years of Citron Poetry. https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/notes-on-the-poetry-selections-12/
When raising children is like "Fighting with God," Jennifer Woodworth dives into each poetic moment. https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/fighting-with-god/ Jennifer Woodworth is the author of the chapbook, How I Kiss Her Turning Head (Monkey Puzzle Press.) Her writing has appeared in Bending Genres Journal, The Eastern Iowa Review, Star 82 Review, among others. Her blog is fishclamor.com. #amreading #poetry
Micro fiction by Frances Gapper has us in a "Curious" mood. https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/curious/ Frances Gapper has 3 story collections including: The Tiny Key (Sylph Editions). Her “Plum Jam” won FlashBack Fiction's 2018 Microfiction Contest and is included in 2019's Best Microfiction. #amreading #microfiction

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: