02.13.23 [on the F and B trains]

i've started back in on piecing my pandemic quilt, which is something i'd put on hold when steve was declining this fall and winter since it probably can't be laundered ever (i didn't even prelaunder any of my fabric!) and definitely can't be laundered until i finish sewing it together. i beat myself up about that, in my magical thinking i was harming him by trying to limit his sickness's impact on our stuff, and i know how dumb that sounds, but what can you do? he was the smartest cat i've ever known, and i felt like he knew what i was doing most of the time. i also fear that he didn't understand our calling the vet to the apartment last tuesday at all and that i fucked up the one thing i could give him at the end of his life, because grief is body-checking me to the worst places right now. i hope it gives me room to get to useful pieces as i draft the piece on cats i now owe my editor at the end of the month instead of today, but i won't feel like a failure if it doesn't. kidding! i always feel like i fail my animals, especially in situations like this one.

the pandemic quilt–or the top of the pandemic quilt, anyway, i don't yet know how i'll bind and back it–is now about the size of a twin bed coverlet. matty already nests in it while i'm working, as steve once did, which makes the sewing trickier but is otherwise restorative for both of us. i've now incorporated fabrics from an agricultural festival on st. croix, a vintage shop in new haven, a bunch of fat quarter bundles from liberty when we were in london, and a place in philly's fabric district; it's not the rothko-inspired, super-disciplined design i originally had in mind, but its new maximalism has suited the way my headspace has cauliflowered over the past few years.

after my midtown doctor's appointment i swung down through hell's kitchen to see our old pet store, which partners with a local rescue group to host adoptable cats that i was going to appreciate as a casual passerby and then definitely leave behind. they did not have any cats, other than a new-to-me shop cat; they did have an OG staffer who recognized me from across the room ("oh my god, i remember you!"). it's been 14 years since we packed up for the lower east side! the old petland up and around the corner on ninth avenue is now an orangetheory, which must boost our former little pet shop, and good for them. does the shop owner now run into his customers there like he did with me at the janky bally total fitness under worldwide plaza all those years ago? (that wasn't the guy i saw today.) i took an escalator down to take a lap through our old food emporium and talked cats with a cashier at our old health foood market. its natural licorice selection has become even more magnificent.

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