In which our weary author examines her codependent relationship with her chaotic rat son.
It’s been two weeks since Hermann’s all out rebellion began. Two weeks of trying to do whatever we can to figure out how to get him to return to his cage at bedtime. Of trying to stay vigilant to his clumsy rustling so as to determine where he is, what he is up to, where he is hiding his snacks (his regrettable enthusiasm for my underwear drawer continues), and which of the many water bowls I have left out for him he has inelegantly capsised.
Two weeks of waiting, hoping, praying for his approach only to have him tauntingly run over my feet as I’m trying to meet a deadline or look vaguely professional on a Zoom call. Two weeks of meticulously cleaning everything only to find a nice little pile of droppings in the corner of the room that I’ve set out to meditate in. He is technically toilet trained, you know, but has apparently unlearned all of that just to make my life difficult.
Meanwhile, the patience of golden child Kotti as he waits lonely and forlorn in his cage for his brother’s return wears thin. He’s having a rebellion of his own, tossing his kale around and making a mess of his litter tray. The anxious attachment force with him is strong.
Kind reader, through this difficult time, I’ve even resorted to uttering obscenities.
“Do you think he thinks his name is Dickhead, now?” asks my new roommate, who moved in a couple of weeks before the great Hermann revolt began, and who has mercifully shown good humour through this Hermann-inflicted chaos.
Still, through all of this, Hermann’s revolt and everything else, I’ve had to ask myself tough questions. What is it about me that allows for all this orbiting chaos, and can I opt out? How far do my responsibilities towards other stretch, really? And with what level of nonchalance can I, like a cat with a precious vase, tip off the table other people’s shit that’s not really mine to carry?
Because, the thing is, when it comes to managing my mutinous rat children, I don’t really have much control over the situation, it seems. But a lot of other aspects I do have some control over. So.
A Berlin-based writer engages in the study of belonging and in-between places after years spent faraway from 'home'.