9 PM, Sunday:
You and your roommate are huddled together on the couch, poring over your books in prep for finals. You switch tabs to twitter, and all the culturally aware not-quite-celebrities you follow keep dropping the phrase “Cat Person.” “Oh, nice, a gender-neutral superhero reboot,” you think. You hope they can still find a way to include Halle Berry in the project. You switch tabs back to your essay and keep typing away like the incisive critical thinker you are.
You switch tabs back to twitter again, just for a change of pace. Wow, this Cat Person thing is really blowing up! Turns out it’s a New Yorker Fiction piece, and not DC comics’ latest juggernaut. Looks like a nice five-minute read. You give it a gander.
You and your roommate are now talking animatedly, gesticulating, confirming each others’ experiences. You talk about the burden of taking responsibility for others’ feelings. You talk about the way men can turn on you when you fail to appease them. You submit a portrait of the two of you to Webster’s to use next to the term “female friendship.”
You have been discussing the piece going on two hours. Every bit of your dating history is laid out on the table. You’ve repeated the phrase “you don’t owe him shit” so many times that it seems strange and unfamiliar, like when you repeat your name over and over again or stare at your face in the mirror for too long.
After a night of validating conversation, you hit the hay, ready to conquer the day ahead.
You’re half-awake, in a lucid dream-state. Snippets of the story are swirling around in your mind’s eye, like a newspaper headline in an old-timey movie. Texts from former flames are cropping up, too, intermingling with the text to form a hybrid of story and experience. What is true? What is fiction? It’s impossible to tell.
You roll out of bed without a care on your mind except for your final that afternoon.
3 PM, Monday
Your friend Rhonda whose wifi stopped working last night sends you a link to the article. You engage her for a few messages and then move on.
10 AM, Tuesday
Everyone’s forgotten that Cat Person exists. In fact, you saw a couple of stray cats milling around your building this morning and didn’t even flinch. You get a notification from facebook messenger; your mom has sent you a link to the story alongside the message “an interesting reflection on young womanhood.” The story is officially dead