I'm sitting in the back seat of the car, & the cat from the shelter is crawling all over my lap, digging her claws into my legs. I know the poor thing is scared, but her terror is kind of annoying.
"Get that look off your face," I tell her.
She's a round tabby. Her shoulders have crept up and her eyes are twitching in apprehension. If she could talk, she'd be pleading right now. She assumes we're here to hurt her.
"Just hold her tight and be soothing," Jordan says. He's looking in the rear mirror more than at the road.
I try to be soothing. I pet her ears. She flinches. I scratch under her chin. She pulls away uneasily. She mews, a pitiful squeak.
"I think I'm developing allergies," I say. Jordan's reflection rolls its eyes at me in the mirror. So I'm not the nurturing type, okay? I can't get instantly attached to this furball just because she's squishy and helpless. It's not that I don't care, either. I hate to hear that her owner left her in a rain barrel outside the SPCA. But that doesn't mean I want her shedding all over me.
"Almost there," Jordan says. It's me he's soothing. He can do whatever he wants, as long as we dump this cat soon. "Ever heard of Karma?" Jordan asks, slowing down for a school zone.
"It's a long weekend," I remind him, but he ignores me and maintains a steady 25 kph. It's agony to roll by at a crawl while this feline gouges my thighs and shreds my jeans. Each electrical pole approaches in slow motion.
"Karma," Jordan insists. "What goes around comes around."
"Look, I'm holding the damn cat, aren't I?"
He says nothing. Could it be that he's not even talking about the cat? Could it be that he's insinuating something else? The particular something that's been on my mind every second of the last week? But how could he know about that? I haven't told anyone. I shouldn't be so paranoid, and yet I can't help noticing a steely note in his voice that wasn't there before.
"We're still talking about this animal adoption of yours, aren't we?" I ask.
"What else would we be talking about?" he says, tapping the wheel and looking straight ahead.