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"Suckers!" Rosie shouted out the window; she made a gesture with her tongue and fingers that caused the rest of them to honk and shout louder. She had big silvery hoops in her ears and they glinted wickedly in the headlights. We sped through a school zone and the honking grew quiet. There was a waxy fat moon, belly big and hanging low in the sky. Rosie flipped off her headlights on the straightaways so the moonlight was bright on the yellow line and the pavement was black, black, black.
The drive was only fifteen minutes but every time we passed a house I would point to it and say, "That's my house! And that's my house! And that's my house!"
"Don't worry, lady, I know where you live," Rosie said.
But they were all my houses, I knew it. Love had made me the opposite of a refugee. My home was expanding and then it was everywhere. My home was immense!
"This is your house," Rosie said, once she got me home.
"This is your house," I told her.
She sent me off to bed. "Drink a glass of water and take two Tylenol before you go to sleep," she said. "And for chrissake be quiet about it."
I went inside, closed the front door behind me and then pressed my ear to it.
I wanted to listen to the noise of Rosie's engine heading out of the drive so I knew she was safely on her way.
* * * *
Apparently they got almost all the cats back a day or so later. All you have to do is set out enough food and they'll come running right back to swap their freedom for an unhunted meal. Even so, Hank was fucked. His mother was almost convinced that a few of the cats had inexplicably run off until a few days later when she went to clean the pool. Hank had fished all the cans from the water, but forgotten about the filters. When Mrs. Carter pulled up the circular tops she found the plastic filter baskets full of beer cans, water bubbling through and around.
I also got caught. Because I always get caught. My mother heard about the cats from someone down the street and one piece of gossip led to another and she heard that I'd been there. She was livid. How could I show such disrespect to Mrs. Carter? How could I do that to her pets? I couldn't tell her I hadn't been involved, because where would I say I'd been?
I was grounded for a long time. "Lady, you've got to get out of there. I'm dying without you," Rosie said. But what could I do?
Sometimes, after the final bell at school, we'd hang out in the parking lot, our backs to the loading dock where the janitors smoked cigarettes and the girls who weren't like us sat on the hoods of their cars, applying lipstick and white eyeliner. It was while I was cooped up that Rosie started dating Davis. She asked me for clearance first and I told her yeah, of course, it was just one night. There wasn't anything between Davis and me and if Rosie couldn't see the other reason, what could I do about it?
To be honest, I thought she'd eat him alive and spit him out after a month. I thought he'd bore her to pieces.
* * * *