the project has moved



And after the Intermission II

Two weeks pass at a fast slow clip.

I have a friend come into town. I work. I drink more than I have in a long time. I buy cat food twice. Boise is eating in sorrow.

The first couple nights he waited in the living room. Now he’s happiest when we’re both asleep. He is always hungry. He is always meowing. Sometimes, when he hears her voice on the computer, he runs away. I don’t want to look and see where he goes.

I talk to her a little. She says the usual things she should say to make me feel better. This works, for a while.

I go crazy if she doesn’t call again the next night.

Here is what I do: I wake up and turn on the heat so the shower will be warm. I go to work. I sit at a computer. I come home and sit at my computer. I think about when, or if, she will call. I try not to watch tv. I bring a book to the tv and watch tv. I brush the cat until he tries to bite me. I switch brushes. I give him a snack. If she doesn’t call, I lay in bed reading. If she does call, I am okay.

This probably makes it sound too sad. The drinking is fun. I spend money she’s preapproved. I remember my old life.

Missing her is probably a good thing.

I play basketball once. Kids play at the hoop beside me and in the playground nearby and I listen to the nonsense of their small circle of friends.


The Island of Epidemics and Me

While Cathreen is away in Korea, I am working on getting published a series of tiny stories about an island of epidemics. The epidemics are: memory loss, hunger, expanding hearts, unrequited love, obsession, magic, charisma . . .

Boise claws my hands when I try to clip his nails and I think about what is plaguing him. He meows. Over and over. The first night, he slept by the door, waiting for Cathreen to come back.

I am trying to keep busy.

I went to the dentist on Friday. I worked for a couple hours with a half-numb mouth. It took a while to really get a hold of Cathreen. Today was the first day we had any time to talk. Before she hung up, she said she'd changed her mind about having a baby. Our nephew threw her hairbrush at her and she called for his mother. She said she was spending her time eating and watching tv. We were talking on the computer. I said all this was what she could be doing here, at home. I said everything she did there she could do here, at home, though that isn't true.

Before she left, she ordered some pots and pans. They came hours after I'd taken her to the airport. I cook pasta and rice and leftovers and nothing burns anymore.

I run out of Boise's food. I run out of trash bags. I spend hours online. I leave the computer on when I sleep. I send out the island of epidemics stories.

In the time between her flight and now, five have been accepted. I feel full of hope. But then I remember why I feel empty or full.


And after the Intermission

Cathreen is gone to Korea. My, this house is big.

I want to write more but it's also a little scary. How to care for the cat?

The Paris Review Interviews essays will have to wait. I have emotions on my mind. The cat sits by the door, in a suitcase. "Boy," I call him. Still, I'm the one who named him.

Five weeks.

We've done months before. But I've never been the one who couldn't get away from the other's scent. I was always the one who sadded his way over the ocean and then looked up his old life.