That was five years ago.
Rather, though she denies it, I believe she is attached to this area.
I can understand. I kept saying all throughout high school that I wanted out of Iowa. Originally, I planned to attend college in Chicago. Luckily for me, I did get out after community college—I am currently attending an out-of-state university whose cost will inevitably match my first mortgage.
My mom has never had to pay a mortgage because, truthfully, she has never owned a home. We have rented the households we have lived in, or have lived under the gracious wing of a relative. Now, however, my mother wishes to estrange herself from this generosity (and the physical labor required to maintain the house) and become a renter. A renter with a small pet.
That is what we call her. Little Ollie’s real name is Oliver, which—according to friends and family—is a “boy’s name”. This upsets me. At the time, we were unsure of what Ollie’s sex was, so I chose a name that seemed relatively gender neutral. It does not matter to me if the name “Oliver” evokes images of Charles Dickens’ classic, because the name means “olive tree”. If any individual can explain to me why a shrub native to the Mediterranean is masculine and masculine only, that would be entirely beneficial. The entry in my copy of The Greatest Baby Name Book Ever (of which my ownership is an entirely separate matter) only adds that Old Norse translations of “Oliver” include “Kindly” and “Ancestor”. Again—why is this masculine? I know of more than one man who is not kindly, and I highly doubt that the entire race of humans descended solely from XY chromosomes.
It’s a bitter issue, the naming of The Cat.
Anyway, in addition to The Cat, Ollie, and Oliver, our little feline fury is also called Pain-in-the-Butt, Ollie-vander (ten points to the Hogwarts house of your choice if you can tell me who this Harry Potter character is), Ollie-Vader, Ollie-vary, Ollie-jandro (thanks to the Lady Gaga song stuck in my head for the last week) and Stupid Cat. And, like the reprimands of peeved grandparents, The Cat’s full-name is used during admonishments.
My mother insists that she hates The Cat. Oftentimes, she speaks of numerous ways of how she would like to “dispose of” The Cat. This has included, but is not limited to: drowning, slicing, smashing, squishing, burying, abandoning, mulching, mowing, scalding, baking, and freezing. However, my mother also hints that she wants kittens again. (Well, not personally—she would prefer that The Cat have them. My mother’s fertility and human genes do not allow for her physical production of Felis catus. This does not hinder our simultaneous cooing over the offering of free kittens advertised in the newspaper, however.) Despite her claims of deep hatred, I know that Ollie keeps my mother company when I am away at school...and I think my mother knows this as well.
This is why she is looking for apartments that allow for small pets. Just a short while ago, my mother got off the phone with an apartment manager, though I pretended her urgent discussion concerned other topics.
“Were you calling about free kittens?” I playfully yelled from my room, falsely excited.
“Yes. They said they have small ones,” my mom yelled back, matching my humorous tone.
“Yes. Small ones. They have no dogs, but have small creatures, and small fish. So there are no Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo fish tanks at this place.”
“Well, you wouldn’t want that to break. It would flood everything.”
“Very true.” My mom was quiet for a moment before she began to eagerly joke once more. “I could put The Cat in a tank, however, and fill it up with water!”
“Yes!” I exclaimed. “Yes! She’s a CAT-FISH!” I let out a purposely atrocious bellow. “HA!”
“HA! HA!” My mom yelled back. “I’ll even shave her!”
“You’re just using that as an excuse to ‘accidentally’ let the razor slip.”
Hopefully she'll be able to find an apartment; I have to help her fill out on-line applications tomorrow. I just hope that the apartment managers can overlook her potential to be a murderer of cats. Well, one cat.