Double vision

I thought I’d done a good job of disguising it with a scarf, but my grandmother informed me yesterday that I’d gained weight.

“I know,” I said. “You told me that last time you saw me.”

“I did?” she asked, genuinely surprised.

“You did. You don’t need to tell anyone they gained weight,” I added. “They already know.”

“I’ll remember not to tell you anymore,” she said, somewhat chastened.

“We’ll see,” I said.

I didn’t tell her that I’ve been back at the gym lately. I didn’t tell her I joined a cycling class which meets twice a week in the dark and how one of the instructors yells WOOOoooo during the hard parts, which are pretty much every other minute. It’s not that I’m afraid I won’t stick with it, but I have seen myself lose and regain weight before. She has too.

She deftly changed the subject to my brother’s weight gain, though his was self-reported since she hasn’t seen him in awhile. Later I realized this most likely came up after she’d told him how much weight I’d gained and felt a fresh wave of disappointment that a pretty scarf only goes so far.

“My problem is these things that keep growing on my skin,” my grandmother continued. She then told a brief but troubling story about an elderly friend who grew “a long stick” from her nose. Kids, if you’re reading, life has exciting things in store for you too.

“How’s your cat doing?” I asked, afraid of what she might bring up next.

The cat is not really hers, but does anyone really own a cat? She has been letting this cat into her house to eat and nap, although never overnight, for over a year.

When I visited at Christmas, she had me put a litter box in her basement. “It’s too cold for her to sleep outside,” she explained, which was true, however 1) this cat is a boy, and 2) he already has a place to sleep: at her neighbor’s house, where he lives.

They have an unspoken agreement whereby my grandmother feeds the neighbor’s cat and they don’t call the police on her. According to her, they have a lot of cats. She’s not sure if they just turn up or if the neighbor brings them home to replace cats other people borrow.

This cat, the one my grandmother borrows, is pretty great. She calls him Tiger, which is a funny name for a girl cat and still not his real name. When you put your hand out to pet Tiger, he rises on hind legs to meet you halfway. Something about him standing upright makes me easily picture him in trousers and a waistcoat. He seems like a wise angel sent to keep my grandmother company.

Grandmother and “Tiger” during warmer days

The other day my grandmother said she saw Tiger in the neighbor’s driveway when she was going to get her mail. She called out and walked towards him but he scampered off when she got close, which surprised my grandmother despite this being totally catlike behavior.

Once my grandmother got back inside, she found Tiger sleeping soundly on the couch, right where she’d left him.

“He looked exactly like my Tiger. Now I know where to find another cat if anything happens to him,” she said, sounding quite pleased with herself.

20 thoughts on “Double vision

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      1. Yeah or not showing up for seconds! Totally random and you might have heard of it cause it’s getting a lot of hype lately, but the idea of intermittent fasting where u go 16-18 hours without eating, so have you dinner at like 4pm, and then don’t eat breakfast until after 10. That has tons of health and weight regulation benefits. Also makes it easier to stop food craving because your sleeping for a large part of that. Getting good sleep is another passive way to improve health. Anyway, that’s my two cents, I’m just a dirt farmer, but my wife is a health coach, so it’s not totally unfounded advice.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha! The best tip of all! I’d never heard of that fasting. I eat at 6 and 10, so doesn’t sound undoable. Ah sleep, you’ve hit on a trickier subject. Thanks for the tips, I’ll definitely look into intermittent fasting.


  1. They look like real pals. I’ve never known a cat that stood up like that to be petted, makes me wonder what he was in his prior life, you mentioned the trousers & waistcoat, so maybe a butler, can’t shake the habit of standing up straight?
    Or maybe he thinks stretching out like this disguises a bit of weight gain.
    One of my grandmothers regarded all cats as female, and all dogs as boys, regardless of what sort of behavior or pregnancy, etc. I guess older folks are entitled to see what they want to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll save the cat the trouble: it won’t work. She’ll notice anyway. He also has a habit of getting underfoot, which is dangerous but I can see an over eager butler doing the same. Can I hold that silver egg cup for you, madam? That sort of thing. She wants to start feeding him people food for some reason but he’s not interested. He’s very no nonsense.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I truly hope you collect these stories and bind them in a book…your writing has ‘beautiful book cover’ written all over it.
    I think you told us about her cat, not her cat before, right? Your grandmother always makes me smile.
    I need an extra scarf these days and an early morning WOOO! gym teacher.
    Keep on writing and sharing – you always inspire me. xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the stories about your grandmother. I may have mentioned that before, but it bears repeating. I’ve been of a mood recently and the part about your grandmother’s friend who grew a “long stick” from her nose lightened the air in my room considerably. Also LOVE this photo!

    Liked by 1 person

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