How to Adopt a Cat
World Literature Today|Winter 2021
Hoping battles knowing in this three-act seduction (spoiler alert: there’s a cat in the story).
Maayan Eitan

I 1. Try to seduce someone. How? Read him a story you wrote. The story will have quite a lot of sex in it. Body parts, passions, all that jazz. Lift your eyes off the page the moment your father appears in it. Smile a half-smile. There will be irony there, of course, though you’ll admit to your therapist that you’re dead serious. Dead. Serious.

2. He won’t be seduced. He’s an artist, a free soul, but he’ll tell you he’s looking for someone stable to start a family with. In fact, you realize, he’s looking for his mother. Your mother, you tell him, died during your birth. It’s a lie, but it might just as well be the truth. Tell him about your childhood. Say: “I belong to a dynasty.” To your therapist say that everything you’re doing in order to make him fall in love with you fails.

3. Tell him, “I belong to a dynasty,” then add: “My parents wanted to live outside of society.” He will look at you with dark eyes. These are the kind of eyes I want my child to have, you’d feel like saying, then immediately erase the thought from your mind. You’ll shut up too. What child? you’ll think later. Ah, it’s simple: the one he won’t have with you.

4. Buy clothes. Remember: a new dress always compensates for the loss of the body. Buy: high-heeled boots, a black top with Victorian lace, a long knit cardigan. Forget the winter passed. Forget, of course, that the winter has passed already. Pretend time doesn’t move actually. This is why you’ll sleep with the artist occasionally. Continue to read him stories while he’ll snort lines of Adderall on the low wooden table in his living room, the one you’ll also fuck on later.

5. You won’t tell your therapist that you’ve spent all the money you’re supposed to pay her on clothes. Take a loan, then another one. Buy more and more clothes and less and less of anything else, including food. But you won’t lose that much weight this time. Your body is used to hunger, and is bored by it. Tell that to your therapist. She’ll say: You need to eat. What did you eat today?

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