We have a game in our house that is less than fun. It’s called Find the Pee. Obviously not a glamorous past time this game of ours, but a family obsession to pinpoint where new cat has decided to stubbornly avoid one of her four litter boxes.
We play this game together and alone, shoving our faces close to tight corners, cracks in dark places until we have a eureka moment. On Monday, I found myself playing alone, slinking around in the basement, until I found the motherlode of urine. Deep in a dark corner where the foundation has cracked from years of weather and the rain has been slowly trickling in was a stench so toxic I had to pull my shirt around my nose to brave the next step. The well of toxic liquid had found its way into the cracks of a plastic bin. Wishing I had gloves (my daydream of latex gloves--also a pastime I’ve mine. More on this later. Remind me to tell you about tweaker mountain bike guy and his boogers.), I dove into the bin to find volumes and volumes of my college journals completely soaked through with mold, rain water, and of course, cat pee.
Memories of my late teens and early twenties. Blurred words of love, mischief, literature, and sadness: the complete canon of a girl on her own trying to figure things out. I paged through what was still relatively readable. Adventures prompting more adventures; heartbreak prompting new definitions of what life could and should be. Page after smelly page, an urgency for “more” etched it’s way into each word. The “more” was not a house, a family, cars, nor clothes. Instead, it was time--time to dream and see new things--time to read under my favorite tree at Cal State San Bernardino. (The latter being a very specific detail that turned up on every other page. Good job, big tree.)
And, without latex gloves I scooped up the entire canon and hauled it to the trash. All of it. Back to the basement I went with my arsenal of bleach and curse words designed only for new cat (truly a loving mix of vocabulary not designed for mixed company). Despite the F bombs, a smile returned to my face. It felt good to let go. To bleach the hell out of the past. Not that it was a bad past--I have zero regrets, well, except for that one time at Club Metro…or that lost Southern Comfort weekend, or...
The truth is that my need for “more” has helped me travel to this place I call “now.” I look around at my people--both family and friends--who have replaced my beautiful tree, providing a shelter that I suspected could be possible, but seemed elusive. I am hopeful that I am not simply a taker, but also providing my loved ones with a beautiful, safe place to dream and to be. At the moment, I also have a little time, which aside from the love surrounding me, is an unbelievable luxury. To stop, to think, to be present, and to smell the damn cat pee. My cracked bike shop hands are pleased to be ungloved, and touching it all.