The Exploding Sun

by Kevin Tadge

Do you see that? Do you see the exploding sun?  It's so tiny you can't really make it out.  But so hot. My mother touched it and got skin cancer. We keep it in the drawer now.  In the desk beside the furnace where the cat sleeps. I can't even remember her name. The cat's. She wanders the forest during the day.  The forest worships her. The forest has so long thought of her as a deity that she believes it herself. She makes grand statements. She has unruly expectations.  She auctions her hairballs on the internet. She makes more money than I do.

I once bought one of the hairballs just to see how she shipped them. It was packaged so nicely. I could only think Where does she get the boxes? And Is she using my tape? I hid under the bed and waited for her. I know she likes to nap down there. I was invisible so she fell asleep before we had the chance to talk. I scratched her neck.

The evenings are relentless. I bought her a new food that prevents hairballs. She refused to eat after reading the can. "Why don't you love me?" I yelled. We both laid on the floor weeping. We did a crossword. I want my crosswords to tell stories when they're done.  Grand epics. Does anyone write stories to be read to cats?

I gave her bad feedback just to spite her. I watched her rating drop. She disputed it immediately. I ran upstairs to catch her on the computer, but she was pretending to sleep. She pretended to wake up and asked me why I was running. I said, "Have you seen my exploding sun?" She said, "Isn't it in the drawer?" I said, "Okay. Right."

I asked the forest about its god the next day. The forest spoke lovingly about my cat. How she had settled an argument between two birds and how she had cured a disease infecting the beeches. I realized I was a part of something. I shouldn't be so jealous.

I went to the store in the morning and bought her the food she likes. "I am not your enemy," dripped from my mouth as I poured her food. She smiled and ate. She meowed. We watched soccer on the couch. In the afternoon, she wandered among her people, and I sat down to write a letter. I put the letter in the mailbox when I finished.

Two days later, the cat apologized. She had read my letter. I apologized too. It was silly, wasn't it? We should be friends. She took me to the forest and showed me the nicest leaves she knew. I let her sell my exploding sun. She had a perfect rating again after I changed my comments. She had known it was me all along. I said I knew that she knew, but I hadn't. She knew I hadn't known.

We put the little burning ball in a miniature box from the bakery across the street and mailed it today. Exploding suns aren't good for anything except starting fights.