I walked into the bathroom this morning to find you, Orin, playing in the tub. This is pretty standard. Something about this porcelain boat is intriguing to you. Whenever I open the bathroom door after a shower, I find you waiting on your toes. You always burst past me like you've been waiting forever to get in there and I always think: "Huh. This is what it would have been like to have a sister."
(The interesting side effect here is that you end up playing in the last bits of water to go down our perma-clogged drain and later when your body comes whizzing past me you always smell of Suave Shampoo and Suave Conditioner. This is strange because even though I have kneaded this soap into my skull, marinated in the conditioner, my hair still always smells like pork chops).
So there you were today, Orin, playing in the tub. I moved to close the door so I could make water and heard scratching above my head. There, perched on top of the door was you, Hal, looking like one of those koala bears we used to attach to the top of our pencils in grade school. I tried to figure out how the hell you ended up 8 feet in the air and determined your route must have been toilet to toilet tank to wooden shelf to amazing circus leap of faith.
Anyway, Hal. You looked terrified, hugging the top of the door like that. Who knows how long you were up there. Maybe all night, huh? Just waiting for me to creep in at 5 a.m. so you could scare the holy hell out of me. I can imagine you tried to retrace your steps and realized getting down was going to result in at least a dislocated shoulder.
I had to stand on the toilet to reach you and I eased you slowly to the ground. You seemed grateful which surprised me. Usually you seem to need nothing more than for me to inject Ritalin directly into your eyeball. So I guess we had a little moment there, didn't we?
I'm hoping this rescue mission makes up for the fact that we have permanently separated you from your girlfriend, the winter hat my mom got me for Christmas last year. You found her in closet and tugged her by the flap into the bedroom. I see what you see in her. She's soft and furry, doesn't ask for much. When Orin tried to play third wheel, you dug deep into your toenails for a growl so primal, so Satanic, that I considered searching Amazon for a DIY exorcism kit.
Eventually you brought her downstairs to dance in the middle of the room. But this girl, Hal, this hat-girl, brought out the ugly in you. She made your pupils enlarge, your jaw clench and your talons glisten. Sweet Orin didn't understand that he'd been replaced as a playmate. And then when he did understand, he looked sad.
Sometimes, Hal, we develop feelings for a hat that fill us with passion. But it's the wrong kind of passion. It's a toxic passion that brings our worst traits to the surface. We mistake the boiling blood for love when it's really rage. I'm sorry we had to hide your girlfriend in a cupboard, Bud, but it was for the good of you and our whole family. Maybe we can watch a few episodes of "Teen Mom" together. I think when you see the relationship between Amber and Gary, you'll understand that we did the right thing.
I don't know, Hal. You seem to be going through the terrible twos and your teen years all at once. We're never sure which personality you're going to throw at us. The other night you snuck into the bedroom and laid between my feet as a I read. You didn't try to rip the blanket apart with your nails, you didn't try to sit on my neck, you didn't push your wet nose into my cheek.
"Hal's pretending he's the kind of cat that can sleep in the bedroom," I texted to Chuck.
"Don't fall for it," he warned.
Scared shitless you're going to drop from the ceiling and onto my head,