excerpted from “Feral Cats of Kalamazoo”
by Sarah Sorensen
{from Issue #12.5}

 

The night was hot and her body couldn’t sweat, at least not much. She sat on the steps of her building, which was part of a huge complex. She was a little drunk and tried not to show it just in case someone walked by. Not that many people were out tonight. Anybody going someplace was already there, she guessed.

The heat was rising off of the parking lot like hell itself was sitting just below the asphalt. She was waiting for the delivery person to bring the tacos she’d ordered. Her apartment was high and stifling, containing only one small window that barely opened and no fans. Everything felt thick and moist, a little dulled, same as the tongue in her mouth. She couldn’t tell if the delivery person would notice that she’d been drinking; she worried a little that she’d embarrass herself.

What did it matter, though? Kaitlyn knew that she cared about things too much. In most cases, she thought, caring is pointless. She knew that sounded hard, but she was getting a little lost, losing herself more and more. She thought maybe giving the rest of the world the middle finger would help her find a way back to herself. She was trying to hang on by holding back.

But nothing stopped the feelings. She cared about the sick, the dying, the fuck-ups who fuck up. She cared about animals and face transplants and people half burnt away from acids and fires. She cared about the sadness in Stevie Nicks’ song, “Landslide.” She cared about pesticides on fruit, antibiotics and hormones in the water supply, trees ripped down to make useless retail establishments that will move in five years and leave buildings empty like huge dead holes, like empty eye sockets, blank and blind and full of nothing. She cared about dying bees and people dying of bee stings. She cared about oil spills, poverty, bullying, and the woman in the grocery store with a cart full of cheap wine and different flavors of ice creams.

She cared that she was lonesome. She cared about Elena. She cared about the smell of Elena that no longer sat in her boxes of things retrieved from Elena’s apartment. She cared about the words, fighting words, and refused to listen to them replay in her mind anymore. The break-up felt unsolvable, as did the pain it brought.

She didn’t care so much about herself anymore. Or maybe that was all she cared about now. She couldn’t tell. Things had gotten hazy, and all her focus was gone. Her skin smelled of discount whiskey. The cats stared down at her from the top floor window, mewing into the open slit. She waved, but found herself staring at her bloated fingers. How many shots had she had? It didn’t matter.

Sarah Sorensen has most recently been published in Whiskey Island, In Stereo Press, Dirty Chai, Embodied Effigies, Your Impossible Voice, Gone Lawn, and Monkey Bicycle. She holds an M.A. in English from Central Michigan University. Find her at www.typefingertapdancer.wordpress.com.