Wishes, Cats, and Commands (February 2019, Round 1, Day 3)
“You’re not helping.” Mina glared down at the rotund cat weaving back and forth between her legs. “Great. Now I’m talking to his pets.”
Mina danced away from the cat and grabbed her jacket from the kitchen chair. Remnants from the evening were visible all over the kitchen. As she shrugged into her jacket and the cat returned for more, Mina shook her head and allowed herself a low chuckle. “You, Cat, seem as sure of yourself as him.”
“Does she now?”
Mina spun around. “Hey. Um, I thought you were sleeping.”
“You hoped I was, by the looks of it.” Michael crouched down to pet the cat who had abandoned Mina as soon as he spoke.
“No, no. I just have to get going.”
Michael looked at her for a moment before standing up. “Of course.”
“What do you mean, ‘of course’?”
“I just mean I understand.”
“You understand what?”
Mina watched Michael as he moved around the room, going from refridgerator to counter to cat bowl. It wasn’t until after the cat was chomping away at its breakfast that Michael stepped over the chair that had held her coat, straddling it and resting his hands on the back. She fought the urge to turn and run, but only barely.
“I understand that you aren’t ready.”
“Ha!” Her flush disappeared as fast as his eyebrows shot up. “You don’t understand Jack.”
“So there’s competition?”
Mina grabbed her keys off the counter and checked her back pocket for her wallet. “No, Michael, there’s no ‘competition’ and you don’t need me to tell you that.”
She stormed out of the kitchen leaving Michael to his fat cat and held back just short of slamming the front door. His neighbors hadn’t done anything and it wasn’t even seven. As the cold morning air hit her face, Mina stepped into the street torn between hoping a cab would be there right away and hoping she’d hear the door open behind her.
The cab won and, as she slid across the back seat, she let herself look back at the apartment.
“Who’s the looker?”
Mina was still processing the fact that Michael, holding his damn cat, was standing silently in his doorway when the question pierced her. “I’m sorry?”
The driver, a woman so petite she looked like she could benefit from a phone book to see over the steering wheel, was peering at Mina through the rear view mirror. She waggled her eyebrows and said, “I’ll bet you’re sorry, having to leave that piece of work so early in the A-M. Where to?”
Mina shook her head and turned back to wave to Michael only to find the doorway empty of both man and cat. “Liberty Hospital, thanks.”
“Your wish is my command, toots.” And the little woman took her eyes off Mina and maneuvered the car back into traffic.
Mina fished her phone out of her pocket to text September.
— It’s 6:30 am and I’m in a cab and the LADY driver just called me Toots —