The cat keeps shitting on the carpet. It’s not my cat, and it’s not my carpet, but I pay fifty percent of the rent, and the whole time I’ve lived in our apartment, I’ve never shat on the carpet, not even once.
I keep thinking about that time my friend had manic depression.
“There are ways you can manage this,” the doctor had said. “This doesn’t have to be a detriment on the rest of your life, the rest of your life, the rest of your life.”
And then it went away. After a few months she felt fine, and she’s mostly felt fine since then.
“I think I was just sad,” she told me, but I wonder if she wakes up some mornings and looks in the mirror with her hair all messy and last night’s makeup scrolling down her face and really quietly or maybe just in her head she says, manic depression, manic depression, bi-polar disorder, disorder, disorder, the rest of your life.
Sometimes, I look in my mirror, and I ask myself, am I out of control? Whose control? Who is control?
I think I’m most beautiful on hangover mornings. I rub the black from under my eyes, and then it’s just the red that surrounds them. My eyes look so clear on mornings like that. I feel delicate like I’ve lost an entire layer of cells, peeled off like a sunburn except off everything, my brain, my heart, my lungs, everything but my teeth when I forget to brush them.
I don’t know what we’re going to do about the cat. This morning, hangover morning two for this week, although I try to only have one, I saw the cat had shit on the floor, and I just stepped over the shit into the bathroom. I washed last night’s mascara from under my eyes, then stepped over the shit again and went to work.
Last night, I went to a bar and stood outside to watch my friends smoke.
“Guys, what’s the name of this bar? Where are we? How long have you known about this bar?”
“I don’t know,” said one of my smoking friends. “I think it was always here.”
And then we looked at each other, and then I looked back at the bar, and I could really believe that it had just always been there, not in the sense that Neanderthals had stopped there for a gin and ginger on their way home to their caves, but more it felt like we were the first people, the first people ever, and that this was the beginning of always.
I was woken up this morning by the lesbian mothers who live up the street from me.
They were shouting their children’s eccentric names.
“Garnet and Eleanor, don’t cross the street without us. Garnet and Eleanor, wait there.”
“Garnet,” I said to myself in the mirror after I’d rubbed the black from under my eyes. “Your name will be Garnet forever.” I was so happy that it wasn’t.
On the way home from work, I saw my old landlord out the streetcar window. We used to call him Toben. He looks like a guy whose name would be Toben. His name is actually Doug.
Doug-Toben stepped out of a store and there was a dog in front. He went up to the dog and he started petting it, and that made me so happy. It was great to see my old landlord in real life petting a dog and to remember that he still existed and I still existed even though I didn’t live in his apartment building anymore.
I sometimes call the cat Taya even though that’s the name of my dead dog. I sometimes do it to be funny, as a joke just for myself, and I sometimes do it because I forget. When I do it because I forget, I get sad because Taya is dead and this cat is still alive and shitting on my carpet. But then I remember that I will probably live longer than this cat, and most of the problems I have now are not problems I’ll have for the rest of my life, the rest of my life, the rest of my life.
I’ve been wearing my underwear inside out for two weeks now, but one day I will do laundry and one day I will cook a real dinner and one day I will get my haircut in a salon. The water will be warm on my scalp and the stylist will run her hands through my hair. I will have a memory that is impossible to have. It will be of me as a baby taking a bath in the kitchen sink. I will remember that the soap smelled like oatmeal and that my skin was so soft, and I will know then that it was worth it.