It’s April 6th, a Monday. I’m sitting in an exam room at the vet while Quinn gets blood drawn and x-rays taken. Hoping to find out why he stopped eating. I haven’t eaten yet, speaking of food. We left the house with just some lemon tea in us, too full of anxiety to consider breakfast. Now we’re hungry so Jeremy walks across the street to a grocery store and buys a bag of little Babybell cheeses. We eat them and throw away the wax shells in the garbage can under the sterile sink. The lab values come back 45 minutes later and tell us what we already know, that Quinn hasn’t been eating for about a week. Who knows why things happens with cats. Maybe it’s a painful tooth. Maybe it’s his liver. Pain meds. Call back on Wednesday. Feed him whatever he’ll eat.
That whatever turns out to be canned tuna I find in the cabinet. Now he’s finally eating and we can eat. Bacon, eggs, coffee. Watching Bob’s Burgers on the couch, plates in our laps, plate of bacon cooling on the ottoman.
Happy anniversary, Jeremy says to me.
Happy anniversary, I say back. We smile.
Having kids would be ten times this intense: hospital and ER visits, food spilled on the carpet (we do get our share of cat vomit), school clothes, toys, baby food, diapers. Graham cracker sludge in every blanket fold and seat cushion. Runny noses. Sleep deprivation. Earaches.
That’s why we opted for cats.
We leave Quinn resting under the bed, reeking of tuna and rubbing alcohol, and go ride mountain bikes at an indoor park.
He’s still under the bed when we get back, and emerges for more tuna. We shower and after I take a nap we go out to dinner.
Well, Jeremy says. Thirteen years.
How did we get here?
I almost say, ‘I led you here. For I am Spartacus’ — quoting a favorite movie. But that’s not very romantic. We’re pretty amazing, aren’t we.
You’re supposed to say, ‘I led you here. For I am Spartacus.’
Sometimes I’m on, sometimes I’m not.
Our lives look so different than we imagined when we got married. Nineteen years old, with little besides each other. No furniture, unless cardboard tables and bookshelves count. Slowly acquiring handoffs from friends. Finding decent jobs after months of searching, of twenty dollars a week for food, refusing to go on welfare. Struggling to find decent housing because nearly all of it went to people on welfare (California is a magical place). Years later, Jeremy losing his job to company downsizing. Packing in a hurry, driving to a new job in Wisconsin. Totaling our car on the way, arriving deep in debt.
Rebuilding our lives slowly.
Learning who we want to be.
Learning who we aren’t.
Growing into new ideas, out of old ones. Growing up together.
I kind of thought we’d end up doing things more…normally, Jeremy says. I didn’t want to, I just assumed we’d have to go the direction most people go.
If we’d had children and taken corporate jobs, our lives would have developed in that direction. Instead we chose different, and became what we are now: writer and a musician, child-free, travelers. Cat lovers. Bacon and egg enthusiasts. Adventurists.
I regret nothing.