“The scratch is getting better.”
She’s got a three-inch swollen line on her left cheek. The cat.
“I really cleaned it. Got all the blood off. Used an alcohol swab and everything.”
“I kind of like it. It gives me character. I’m like Omar.”
“As long as it’s not permanent.” He takes a warm biscuit from the baking sheet she pulled out of the oven five minutes ago and puts it on a plate.
“What if it were?”
“Permanent. What if I look like this forever?”
“I’d have to completely rethink our marriage.” He smiles.
“No.” He is scrambling eggs in a bowl.
That night she has a dream. She is walking through the bush and a branch hits her in the face. She wakes up. The cat is at the foot of her bed. “See what you’ve done?” she whispers to the cat.
The cat says, “Maybe you should put some cream on that.”
“I don’t want to get up.”
“I’ll get it.” The cat stretches, jumps off the bed, and scampers to the bathroom. She hears him fiddling around in the cabinet, muttering to himself. He runs back, jumps up next to her and deposits a tube of hydrocortisone on her chest.
“Thank you,” she says.
“It’s the least I can do.”
The next day, the scrape on her cheek is a faint line. The cream has worked. Her husband tells her she is beautiful. They go to the movies. In the dark, she touches her cheek and decides to leave him. She will not be taking the cat.