Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Today's prompt came from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's: "She lived alone with a nameless cat."

The woman at the end of the hall rarely came out of her apartment. Well that might not be true, but I rarely saw her coming or going. She used to be somebody they said, you know somebody famous. But now she lived alone with a nameless cat. She had had some sort of breakdown. Perhaps the pressures of it all, or, like the rest of us, just the pressure of life, the totally unexpected things that suddenly happen to you, overwhelming you in that way that you can’t breathe or think and for some can’t quite recover from.
Our building was one of those apartments they threw up in this part of town in the early nineties. The kind where they used building materials so thin you could hear your neighbor spit when they were brushing their teeth. Although I almost never heard any noise coming from her apartment, on very rare occasions I would hear some bluesy instrumental music. If that happened, and as I mentioned it was rare, after the music stopped, it was almost always followed by the sound of things being thrown across a room, and sometimes breaking glass. That’s how I knew she had a cat, because I heard him on one of those evenings probably hissing or something as he dodged a glass.
The few times that I did see her she had on a pair of large sun glasses. She nodded in my direction but didn’t speak. She was tall, thin with long brown hair. Everytime I saw her She was dressed in jeans and sweaters, regardless of the weather. Often, if she was returning, she was carrying a take out bag from Sam Woo’s Chinese Kitchen.
I tried to tell my husband about her, but he would always ask, right in the middle of my telling him, who I was talking about. I think he thought I made her up.
This morning there was a small article in the daily paper, she had died. According to the neighbor two doors down. The postman had contacted the landlord because her mail hadn’t been picked up for days. The landlord had checked her apartment and had found her in her bed with an empty bottle of sleeping pills. Her big yellow cat lying next to her. Her apartment was filled with paintings, and sketches she had done. Apparently many of her paintings hung in local galleries.
The Times reported that her name was Rita something, she was survived by a sister in Illinois and that she had lived alone in her apartment with a nameless cat. I vaguely remember hearing that bluesy instrumental music coming from her apartment earlier in the week. I wondered if she was really somebody or just a somebody like a rest of us.

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