I grew up in an apartment block. Loosely translated that means that I have no fond memories of kicking the ball around with the kids next door, or riding my bicycle through the streets without a worry. I had to turn 27 to do that.
To be fair, it’s not that the neighborhood vibe didn’t exist where I lived, but the view from the one side was the busy avenue with cars and beeps and danger, while the back view used to be an abandoned field that turned into a football field on weekends and a car park by night. I never ventured out to play because I was afraid of balls, and besides it was much more fun to be the writer, madly typing made-up stories on my typewriter about what life would be like on the streets. I was a peculiar child.
It wasn’t until 13 that I learned about cats. We were always a dog-loving family; we considered cats too indifferent to love and a bit of a hazard at the height of five floors. As such, I never experienced the incessant meowing in the dead of the night, when all but the cat kingdom lays still. I got my fair dose of that while staying over at my grandmother’s while the parental units were on vacation. The TV was playing the popular telenovela of the time (before dubbing hit the scene) and suddenly I heard something. A few minutes later, I heard it again. Surely it was coming from the garden. I raised an eyebrow and wore my Sherlock Holmes expression and rose to the investigation. As I neared the back door to the garden, the sound became louder and it was unmistakably a…a….baby! A baby in the garden! My mind was scribbling stories of a heartless mother, an unwanted baby abandoned in the garden to be found and raised by us. The excitement!
I quickly went to my grandmother and whispered that I had something urgently serious to tell her. I pulled her to the side and whispered the breaking news: I think there’s a baby in the garden. Listen.
Quiet. Followed by fits of laughter.
How was I supposed to know it was a cat? I’m sure someone else has made this comparison before, no? It’s the freakiest love call in the world, if you ask me. I’m convinced it’s an ultimatum: I’ll stop your ears from bleeding if you give me some.
And hey, I’m not even being vulgar.