Thirsty and a Fountain up the Road
Isaac grit his little teeth in that painful love that comes with a warm cat humming as it arches its body in a wave, ear to hip, along his face. The cat was his own, his pet, and he woke to find it, and he ran downstairs for it.
But that was a dream.
And so he stops before me – then runs to my ear in a loud whisper.
I have a secret!
A soft tickle to my brain from inside a cupped hand: Mama, I need a cat. Will you buy me a cat?
And I curl away laughing; the c and the t from cat are a sensory whirl when whispered, and children are strange, so I laugh.
He sucks in a shocked inhale and slams his hand over my mouth, Don’t laugh! I had a cat. I need her. Then he cries and cries, tucking inside my lap –
a first love lost.
Do you remember it, over and over – that wanting, how you eventually started smoking cigarettes to get used to it – puffing out O‘s just to wave your fingers through,
how you learned the mirage of flesh?