My arrival into LAX was usual, except for having to collect my bag at the baggage claim because Delta had me board the overbooked plane so late, waiting until the last minute to decide they didn’t need my volunteered seat. While I kept one ear out for the moan of the carousel starting up, the whir of bags whizzing by and passengers leaping to retrieve them, I chatted with the Australian who’d been seated on the aisle of my row, previously distracted by a chatty Californian woman between us. He’d just spent three weeks in New York and was dying to talk to someone – especially someone who’s lived there for 13 years like me – about it.
I explained my mixed feelings about it, largely because of having spent so much time there, so he asked me what I was doing in California. I gave him the standard reply of client meetings / informational interviews instead of saying, “Getting away from New York.”
But the real answer is the latter.
I woke up this morning to the bright gray-white overcast pallor of Los Angeles morning skies, where you can rarely actually see the sunrise and usually have to wait for the low-hanging cover to burn off and clear. It makes it harder to get up in the morning, but still easier than in New York. It helped that the birds were chirping, the same annoying screech as the birds I’d seen near Fryman Canyon off Mulholland Drive. And I knew there’d be a kitten downstairs who’d be happy to see me, as happy as I would be to see her since I realized she’d left the comforter on the foot of my aerobed to go sleep in her own, in her master’s bedroom. By then, she’d already done her job: her purring had lulled me to sleep in a new place, on a new bed, in a new time zone with a host of new anxieties about things like car rentals and renting out my apartment at home.
Now the kitten is curled up on my lap, lulled to sleep by the muted clicking of my keystrokes, having thoroughly cleaned herself with impossible acrobatics, and intertwined her legs in a most unnatural way. Her tremendous, pointy ears might twitch, but mostly she is still, calm, breathing, no longer purring, creating a spot on my lap much hotter than I’d expect for such a slight, lithe animal.
I’m thinking of the hikes I want to do, the groceries to buy, the wifi hotspots to seek (as my laptop doesn’t seem to jive with the house’s wireless router), but for now, I think I’ll just sit here and watch Puzzles breathe. And if she wakes up, I might let her bite the tips of my fingers again, one by one down the line of my left hand, until she doesn’t realize her own strength and really hurts me. But, you know, it doesn’t really hurt all that much. How could it, when she is so teeny?
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