a sink
Sam Conrad

thirsty-cat-3-460340-mOn most weekend mornings his cat howl-meowed him awake, and after a fistful of food quieted the cat, he would have trouble returning to sleep, sometimes counting the drips like sheep into the hundreds. The drip from the faucet had been there since September. That was three months ago. At times, minutes would pass without a drip, and his mind would wander while he anticipated the next muffled thud of water hitting the sink’s basin, forced to begin again the count from one when his mind circled back. Big drips, the slightly louder ones that came after some time had passed with no drips, were followed closely by several smaller drips. Sitting on the toilet he could gaze into the water drops as they formed, tiny growing globes that mapped the surrounding room. Sometimes the cat’s periscoped tail would feather lightly the inside of his thighs as she weaved between his legs, his elbows holding his pants above the knee, body hunched and neck crooked to watch the colors in the stretched-before-snapping-free droplet before it hit the sink.

His guests (there were few) that remarked at the drip’s presence were assured that someone was coming next week to fix it. The repeat friends, the ones that have been here more than once since September (there were two), were told that it, the drip, had started back up just yesterday, in reality having never ceased, save for those scattered few minutes.

The cat had stopped drinking almost entirely from its bowl of water, choosing instead to subsist on licks from the minute puddles of water that formed in the toothpaste stained basin. The cat, grey but not from age, let drops fall on her head and back without mind as she licked and repositioned. When she’d licked the sink semi-dry, the cat would hop down and sit in a squat, using her tongue and curved paws to strip her fur of any excess dampness.

Maybe tomorrow he’ll call, he thought, lying in bed, listening to the sounds of his cat’s food being pushed around in its bowl. A fly, then, landed on his hand, stopping in a thin beam of light that stretched across the room from a slit in his thin misshapen metal blinds. He stayed statue still, feeling the fly’s feet skirt across his knuckles in unpredictable stop-starts. The feeling was reminiscent of when he would lightly drag the tips of his fingers along the bottom of his feet, or his tongue along the roof of his mouth, a light tickle he wished he could intensify, though like close whispers, it was the delicacy of the words breathed warm on his ear, or of the hard palate valleys untouched by a sliding tongue, the possibility of crescendo, that excited him; yes, the air space between the fly, buoyed on hand hair by its intense slightness, and his skin, was like that. The fly flew away after 8 uncounted drips from the faucet. It, or a different fly, would be in the kitchen when he woke up next, later, after midday.


Texas born. Midwest raised. Sam Conrad started writing in college because he doesn’t trust his body to do much else.