Just a glimpse

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April 15, 2009 by 8junebugs

It’s Tuesday, and I’m calling the elevator. I’m going to pop in a load of laundry in the basement before I head up to the gym on the top floor — I will come back down after my workout to put these linens in the dryer, then make some dinner while they tumble.

I feel very industrious.

Two women join me at the elevator, also going downstairs. Between them, they drag, as carefully as they can, what looks like a pop-up laundry basket. You know, the ones that combine tent technology with the same physics and geometry behind fancy sun shields for cars.

You know the ones.

I think of making a laundry-related comment. That’s what you do, in a high-rise. You talk about laundry and grocery shopping and the weather. But then the basket moves and I see, through the screen window, tails moving .

Ah. Cats. This is a tent for cats. How clever. These two women, I realize, and their cats, are part of the army of visitors I noticed in the hall the day before. They came early on Monday, in a drove, it seemed, and here they are. Leaving, it seems. Already.

They might be mother and daughter. It’s hard to see a resemblance (we all face forward, in the elevator, because that’s what you do), but one is clearly older and has mom hair. No-nonsense hair. And the younger one, the one standing next to me, reaches out to touch the other’s arm. She rubs reassuringly.

The older one, I realize, has hunched forward a little bit, and has her hand to her mouth. She has the posture of someone who has been Being Brave, someone who has been holding a world together by sheer force of will, and her will is feeling the strain. Behind the doors of the elevator, she struggles with whatever she held in during the brief visit with my neighbor.

“They said it’s not life-threatening,” she says. But she doesn’t heave a sigh of relief. She doesn’t believe them yet. She worries.

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