Sunday, 04:17 PM
This piece is at heart a study of me, a view from inside my room and inside my mind.
Sunlight stains the carpet and my white walls are tinted blue. The ground is cool beneath my fingers, the carpet soft and scratchy and synthetic. I feel a little giddy, proud somehow of my existence, how funny it is that I am able to see light bounce from wall to wall.
Through the door I can hear the sound of wind rushing through an open window. Dishes clang together, plastic on porcelain, as they are pulled from the sink. The sound of people is muffled. I can hear them whispering quiet words that wash over me but never sink in.
There is a cat that sits on the rug beside me. The sun softens her outline until she is hardly there, until all that is left is a hazy blur. I blink. From the floor I can see the dust that grows in the corner of the room, bunnies hopping in and out of my vision.
I love that cat, you know. The one that sits in a box on my rug. She shuffles and sinks until the box swallows her whole, until it becomes the room and the concrete jungle is finally plastered over with brown paper.
I turn away and think about the two ears peeking out from that space that has escaped the city. Even if only for a minute. Even if only for a moment. Does the cat realize this is the city? The best the world has to offer. I raise my hand above me in the air and force shadows to slink over my face. Hands are funny mixes of fat and bone and muscle.
I sit up and the world spins in color and light and sound. Gravity pulls on me until I am dull and I know all the prettiness has drained out of the tips of my fingers. My wrists hurt from the pressure of my weight. I pull my wrists from under me and collapse onto the floor, curling up, ready to hibernate at least for a little while. The city fades away until it is just me again, and I can forget it ever existed.
Still, there is sound: a bird outside my window that sings its songs slow and heavy. I remember the cat, and glance over as it eyes the bird. I love that cat. White noise fills my ears as the tension builds. A cat and a bird engaged in a silent movie. She crawls close to the ground until the bird forgets she’s there. Then she strikes. On the floor sound comes to me drenched in honey. Distantly I can hear the cat jump to the floor, but the air is thick and viscous and impenetrable, and I am not sure it really happened at all.
I shut my eyes and the room disappears into trampled nothingness. The carpet is scratchy beneath my fingers. I try to focus my eyes on nothing. Nothing, not even the light that spots in and out of my imagination inside my eyelids. Thoughts fall away and there is nothing but the carpet that passes under the pads of my fingertips and tangles my hair. I hope the cat is okay.
I wrote this piece in layers, gluing together thoughts and pieces and flashes of memory. As I edited it I worked to create a strong sense of time (or the lack thereof) and attempted to emulate how thoughts and feelings seem to appear fleetingly as if in memories or distant whispers. I created the writing and illustration portions of this piece separately, almost exactly two years apart. The similarities and overlaps are nonetheless immense. No matter the fact that two years have gone by, I am at my base, the same person who holds the same things close to my heart and tends to fixate on a small cat in a big city.
Muna Mir is currently a struggling senior, trying to make her dreams of nerding out about books for the rest of her life a reality. Her favourite topic of conversation is the portrayal of women in classical literature but she will more than happily digress into discussing her cats if you give her the opportunity to. She can be found listening to Hozier, Mitski and Taylor Swift while trying to cover up plot holes in her stories.