Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry. Winner of Spillwords Press 2020 Publication of the Year, has been internationally published, and won poetry awards from numerous publications. 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry. She is the winner of Spillwords Press 2020 Publication of the Year.
Her bio is featured in the “Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020,” published by Sweetycat Press. She is the author of 11 poetry books. She has micro-fiction in several anthologies, and published flash fiction. Christine lives in Delaware, USA. She loves gardening and cooking. Chris lives with her husband and three cats. Her most recent credits are: CommuterLit; Spillwords; The Black Hair Press (Unravel Anthology, Apocalypse Anthology, Hate Anthology); Fantasia Divinity Publishing (Winds of Despair Anthology, Waters of Destruction Anthology, Earth of Oblivion Anthology); The Siren’s Call (drabbles); Potato Soup Journal: 10-word stories.
The Cats’ Revenge
Love is complicated. Maneuvering relationships is usually not an easy matter. But as far as animals are concerned, the old adage says it all “Pets love you unconditionally.” I was raised in a house with lots of cats and dogs, and I have to admit, that sometimes, actually most times, I like my animal friends more than I like people. My cats were family.
I should have known better from the start, the way he flirted with me, the way he flirted with all the women at work. He was a married man with a teenage son. Of course, it was a different time back then in the 1970’s. It seemed as if flirting was more accepted then. Free Love and all of that, a leftover from the Hippie movement. Thinking back, it seemed so innocent, and now it seems so wrong. There was a lot of “office hanky-panky” going on. The odder thing was, that almost everyone knew about it and accepted it as normal behavior. The “who was fooling around with who” was common knowledge.
I was in a difficult marriage. I had to get married at a very young age, and nothing was working out well from that situation. I liked the attention that Mike lavished on me, but I never meant it to go that far. He never meant to leave his wife either. We were on a painfully emotional amusement park ride from the beginning. When his wife accidentally found out about it from her best friend, whose husband happened to work in the same wing of the building as we did. Well, it was all over for their marriage. Mike was upset because he never wanted a divorce. He had cheated on Linda several times before, and she had cheated on him when he was in graduate school while she was working to support him. Now, it was her turn to go back to college and finish her degree, and she really did not want to deal with school and a teenage boy on her own while embarking on a new career, but she was a strong and determined woman. The divorce was swift.
So, I left my first husband, and Mike and I looked for an apartment together. It never was an ideal situation. He was attractive and liked to live the highlife, but we really did have completely different values. After seven years of living together we did finally get married. As in all relationships, there were good times and some very bad times. I seemed to be crying all of the time then.
Mike never had any pets growing up, and as I mentioned, I always had cats and dogs. I really missed having pets. Mike did not really want any, but he thought that the pure breed cats that our friends had would be sophisticated enough for his taste. We purchased a pair of pure breed Sable Burmese littermates. They were my “Velcro kitties” and were with me constantly when I was at home. They gave me the love and affection that I needed and did not get from him.
Mike was always going away on business trips for work. For the most part I missed him when he was gone a week at a time, but I had to admit it was peaceful when he was not home. We always seemed to fight and disagree about everything. As the years went on, the business trips seemed to be getting more and more frequent. Lately, there were one day, or two day trips almost every week. And, the strange thing was that he was always more affectionate when he came back home. Mike had not been affectionate with me since we first moved in together fifteen years ago. I think he always blamed his infidelity with me as the reason losing his first wife. I finally could not take it anymore and I confronted him. After a long drawn out verbal battle, he admitted that he was having an affair with Jane, his secretary for several months now. He also admitted that he would have flings with perfect strangers every time he would go on real business trips for the company. His recent so-called business trips were actually vacations days he took to be with Jane. He cheated on me the entire time we were together. I guess I deserved what I got. Why had I expected him to change after he cheated on his first wife to be with me. I was just as guilty.
Now I felt completely violated and dirty. There was nothing left to do but get a divorce.
Mike moved out the next day, and moved in with Jane. Jane divorced her husband, and the circle of hurt and deceit continued. Yet another family broken up and more people hurt. They got married immediately. They could not even wait for a week after the divorce papers were signed.
Then Mike went a step too far. He hired a shyster lawyer. The court ordered me release everything to him; electronics, furniture, china, crystal, silverware, even the cookware. Mike had taken every stick of furniture, every piece of fine china that he bought on his trips to England, and everything of value with him when he left. After all he said, he paid for them with his salary. I was left with the cats and an empty condo that I had to refinance on my own. My son’s room was the only room with any furnishings.
My whole life I was always “Miss Nice Gal,” never wanting to harm anybody, no matter how badly they treated me, not even my cheating ex-husband, Mike. I did wish him well with his new wife, they deserved each other, but I was not going to take this lying down anymore. This time I was furious, so I went out to the local garden shop to purchase some Cougar Urine Deer Deterrent, and began soaking everything he owned with it before the moving men arrived to take his boxes. Both the cats watched me intently as I sprinkled his clothes and other belongings with the pungent liquid. I even put some in his $1,000 lizard skin cowboy boots. Then, as if they understood, both cats rubbed against my legs, and squinting their golden eyes looking up at me with that knowing feline smile. I knew then that Mike’s ex-cats approved!
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