I pulled off one pink sock. It turned into a pink cat. I pulled off the other pink sock and stared at it. It remained a sock.
Ok, let me break this down for you.
I pulled off one pink sock and lay it on the floor. A pure, thick, pink sock in good, even excellent condition. It immediately turned into a living, breathing cat with fur like pink cotton candy. It sat before me with its hind legs neatly tucked beneath it, the way cats always do, statuesque, with big round eyes, staring at me, expectantly, like its mother. On its chest were little wet marks of a darker hue, like the way cotton candy gets when you lick it. Perhaps my socks had been wet from the rain. Perhaps this cat’s fur was still drying like the wings of a butterfly when it emerges from its pupa.
I pulled the other sock off and lay it on the floor and stared at it, expecting it to become a cat too. I waited and stared. But nothing happened. It remained a sock, just a pink sock lying on the ground. Nothing doing.
I looked back at the cat and wondered about its life, about how cats travel and cope and adapt. I pondered where I had traveled from, since the cat had traveled with me in the form of my sock. I tried to remember where I was before I had arrived here and where I was now, but I couldn’t. I had been so many places, too many places to recall.
In some way, I was responsible for the cat now. That was clear from the way it gazed at me. I peered through a crack in the wall to see the world outside, in an attempt to figure out where I was. I saw a white overcast sky, open field, young people kicking a ball. I wondered how my pink cat would cope out there.
I wondered this. What is the worldview of a cat? A cat no less, that has morphed from a sock.
My assumption was that the cat had been a cat before, but that periodically she took on different forms by accident. Periodically she would get swept up into someone’s sock, the way rats insinuate themselves into the depths of ships and unwittingly travel across oceans. They latch onto a convenient habitat and make it their own, not knowing that the habitat is moving, that they will one day wake up and find themselves in a different world, the New World.
But from their point of view, it’s not the New World at all. It’s just a continuum.
I say I felt some responsibility for the cat. That’s true. But I was glad of the cat’s independence of spirit too. The thought of adopting the cat never crossed my mind. No, this cat would be feral, it would have to move about on its own, secure its own meals, find its own shelter, just like I found mine. It would learn to roam the night like other cats do, to catch its prey and escape harm, to cross streets and hide beneath cars and bushes.
It would mate with normal colored cats and give birth to pink and brown-spotted babies. The thought of their mottled pinkish-brown fur bothered me though: the chaos of it, so I stopped thinking about it, banished the thought. Perhaps I only liked to think of the cat in its pure pink form.
But it was up to the cat what it would do from now on. She was on her own. Still, I thought, I would pet her just once before we parted ways. I could make that one small gesture of affection, since a moment before I had worn her on my foot. In effect, I had birthed her. I wanted to feel her pink cotton candy fur in my hand just once. I wanted to know if it really was the texture of cotton candy. I was convinced it wasn’t, that it would feel soft and silky like fur, not rough and sticky. I sincerely hoped so, anyway.
So I crouched down on my haunches to put myself at her level. I reached my hand toward her head, but the moment I touched her, she collapsed back into a sock, a pink sock, limp and lifeless in my hand.
I stared at the sock in wonder. I felt shock at the sock. Then a sense of grief that my cat was gone.
About the author:
Amy Landau is a native New Yorker who lives and writes in Northampton, MA. In her writing, she is fascinated by private states of emotional upheaval. Her work has appeared in Ducts.org and HopeDance Magazine.