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The Cats Stay by David Hawthorne

She sent me an email from work: “I’m bringing some friends over to help me move my stuff out at 6 o’clock. It’ll take a few hours. You probably shouldn’t be there. You can if you want, but it probably wouldn’t be a good idea.”

We’d been arguing back and forth by email all morning and for several days prior. She’d been sleeping on the couch, leaving me alone in the bed.

Now it seemed it was really over. I called her at work and asked, “What was I supposed to do from six to nine?” She suggested I see a movie. I told her that whatever she did, she’d better not take the cats. “I won’t,” she promised. I said it again — the cats stay, the cats are mine, you’re not going to leave me all alone.

I walked down to Newport Avenue, going from one bar to another, pretending to read a newspaper and drinking beer and waiting for the hours to pass. At eight I called her cell. She told me they were still getting stuff out. “I’m tired of waiting,” I said.

“Go see a movie,” she said again. What was I going to see? How could I focus on a movie? Why did she keep saying that? At 8:45 I called and said that I was coming home whether they were done or not. I wasn’t going to be pushed out of my own apartment, the one that she was leaving.

I picked up a six-pack on the way. It was a warm summer evening in Ocean Beach. I was sweating; I had a headache from the beers at the three bars. I dreaded going back, having to look at the shape my home would be in, how empty it would be. It was the same feeling I’d had almost ten years ago, when another relationship ended in much the same way. That was in North Park. I was not allowed to be there one day while my ex-girlfriend and some of her friends moved all her stuff out. When I returned home to that empty apartment, my heart had never felt so hollow. Now here it was again, that same feeling.

I walked in and my heart shrunk two sizes to see the bookshelves empty, the record player gone, the closet with only my clothes. She left the bed, the couch, the metal desk — said she didn’t need them anymore. Most of the dishes were there. More of the books were gone. I wasn’t sure which books belonged to whom anyway.

I couldn’t find my cats. I called her cell and yelled at her, calling her a liar for taking them. She swore she didn’t take them and that they hadn’t run outside. I eventually found the cats huddled under the bed, scared and confused. They didn’t know what was going on; they didn’t understand. They wouldn’t come out.

Late that night, as I was trying to fall asleep, the cats came out and jumped onto the bed. They cuddled next to me.

Tell us the story of your breakup and/or date from hell and we will publish it and pay you ($100 for 500-2000 words).

E-mail story to
[email protected]
Or mail to:
San Diego Reader/Dumped
Box 85803
San Diego, CA 92186

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“Let’s get cracking. It’s time for racking!”

She sent me an email from work: “I’m bringing some friends over to help me move my stuff out at 6 o’clock. It’ll take a few hours. You probably shouldn’t be there. You can if you want, but it probably wouldn’t be a good idea.”

We’d been arguing back and forth by email all morning and for several days prior. She’d been sleeping on the couch, leaving me alone in the bed.

Now it seemed it was really over. I called her at work and asked, “What was I supposed to do from six to nine?” She suggested I see a movie. I told her that whatever she did, she’d better not take the cats. “I won’t,” she promised. I said it again — the cats stay, the cats are mine, you’re not going to leave me all alone.

I walked down to Newport Avenue, going from one bar to another, pretending to read a newspaper and drinking beer and waiting for the hours to pass. At eight I called her cell. She told me they were still getting stuff out. “I’m tired of waiting,” I said.

“Go see a movie,” she said again. What was I going to see? How could I focus on a movie? Why did she keep saying that? At 8:45 I called and said that I was coming home whether they were done or not. I wasn’t going to be pushed out of my own apartment, the one that she was leaving.

I picked up a six-pack on the way. It was a warm summer evening in Ocean Beach. I was sweating; I had a headache from the beers at the three bars. I dreaded going back, having to look at the shape my home would be in, how empty it would be. It was the same feeling I’d had almost ten years ago, when another relationship ended in much the same way. That was in North Park. I was not allowed to be there one day while my ex-girlfriend and some of her friends moved all her stuff out. When I returned home to that empty apartment, my heart had never felt so hollow. Now here it was again, that same feeling.

I walked in and my heart shrunk two sizes to see the bookshelves empty, the record player gone, the closet with only my clothes. She left the bed, the couch, the metal desk — said she didn’t need them anymore. Most of the dishes were there. More of the books were gone. I wasn’t sure which books belonged to whom anyway.

I couldn’t find my cats. I called her cell and yelled at her, calling her a liar for taking them. She swore she didn’t take them and that they hadn’t run outside. I eventually found the cats huddled under the bed, scared and confused. They didn’t know what was going on; they didn’t understand. They wouldn’t come out.

Late that night, as I was trying to fall asleep, the cats came out and jumped onto the bed. They cuddled next to me.

Tell us the story of your breakup and/or date from hell and we will publish it and pay you ($100 for 500-2000 words).

E-mail story to
[email protected]
Or mail to:
San Diego Reader/Dumped
Box 85803
San Diego, CA 92186

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Comments
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You've discovered one of the keys to their thinking: what's mine is mine; what's ours is mine.

Sept. 27, 2008

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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