Cat and I have a shared history of rough surfaces.
We’ve picked our way across the black basalt of the Spiral Jetty, dusty shoes in hands that are flung out for balance while our bare feet wriggle and grasp the irregular surfaces, slipping every other step into the shallow Salt Lake. Eyes squinting against the glare of the August sun and the gusts of hot, dry wind that work to push us off our precarious perches, we still felt welcomed by the hostile landscape after driving through two hours of desolation to get there. Cat was already married and moved away, I was consumed with my own life changes, but that day as we made silly poses with Rosemary we were giants, explorers, elemental pilgrims responding to the simple geometry of the site with equal reverence and humor.
We’ve lain for two straight sleepless nights in a bare, echoing New York City apartment, windows open to the sweltering July air. All the contents of my two suitcases had been desperately molded into a mattress for us on the bare parquet floors, and we pretended that such efforts were sufficient; we stayed up talking until 4 and woke up at 7 out of desire, not necessity. Cat had spent five hours on a bus from Boston and another hour on the subway to be with me on my first weekend in my new home. If she was nonplussed by my lack of furniture and broken ankle, she hid it well. She gushed about my new space and theorized on my coming adventures while I nervously leaned against the dirty walls and avoided eye contact with the cockroaches. She pounced on the opportunity to help me set up when the first of my furniture arrived. They were two entirely useless Tiffany lamps, sans lightbulbs, resented for the lack of cushioning they would bring that night. But the packaging that disintegrated into fragments of white Styrofoam so light and small they didn’t actually land on the floor exasperated and amused us, skating all weekend just above the surface, evading all efforts to be swept up, gracefully looping around and over the path of the pests that skittered by.