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I’m spending the night in what used to be my home, cat-sitting. It’s a joyful time, because I miss my cat every day, and the time that has passed since I left him the custody of my ex has done nothing to alleviate the sorrow of life without kitty.

But it’s a weird time. The house feels like home, in the way that only a place that you fixed up yourself  can feel, and it’s achingly familiar. The mustard colored doors and the blue ones, the silver light fixture with mustard colored insides that so exactly matches the doors. The cheap green plastic shelves that I’ve bought when I got my first Bucharest apartment and carried with me everywhere, except the last move. The light cotton window treatments that his mom made, after we’d scoured the stores for three weeks and managed to agree on exactly one fabric. The lamp in the closet, that still flickers until the bulb is tightened. The bed, which I took with me, but my ex replaced with an identical one so the room still looks the same. Funnily enough, even the brands in the kitchen are the same, as if my past choices have educated taste, or set a standard.

There are subtle differences though. The smells, not foreign, but one-sided. His scent, with a slight whiff of catfood from the kitchen,  with no hint of my perfume anywhere. The bathroom, filled with the blue and silver colored toiletries that announce that a man lives here. The spaces that used to be filled with my knick knacks, now sorely empty, the antique dinner cart I took away. And the cat, diffident and a bit distant, treading warily, but knowing that this presence in the house is me, that I used to belong here, but also knowing that my presence is somehow wrong.

It’s a joyful time, while I drink in every little cat position, every gesture, every stretch and every crunch that is so cute, so sweet, so typical of my baby.

And so I wonder why I’m tearing up.

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