13 December 1937 / Hotel Florida, Madrid

(note: this is a continuation of an account started here.)
Nothing provides relief from tense powder keg rage like the love of a good cat. If this trip brings nothing else, I have at least learned that.

This morning I woke with such a man-hate against Hemingway, I was ready to smash through the wall to resume our wrestle-to-the-death that engaged us yesterday before we called it a day. But when I stepped powerfully toward the wall with my plaster-demolishing fists raised, my leg was blocked by a furry creature rubbing against it. I looked down and saw her, Belisma’s cat, Pepita, as she writhed her spine betwixt my calves. Immediately, my angry brow defurled. I gently picked her up and studied her closely. She was a jumbled mess of contradictions—the eyes of a demon serpent but the fleece of a angel, the fangs of a predatory banker but the whiskers of a kindly old aunt. And yet it all came together strikingly, just as Jean Harlow is able to make some sense of her face. I was instantly smitten with the cat, and she with I. I grabbed one of my socks off the floor and waved it in her face. She bat at it expertly with her right paw. I marveled. Next thing I knew, I looked up and it was dark outside, my entire day apparently occupied with Pepita. This happens with me sometimes, as my focus can be intense, though it always takes me by surprise.

Now I think back on the exact events of my day, and yes, the hours were spent entertaining Pepita, she entertaining me, us entertaining each other platonically. I do remember the din of explosive mortar shells nearby, buildings crumbling off their foundations, children screaming, but I’m pretty sure that was safely more than 50 feet from us. Oh yes! And I remember Hemingway pounding on the door, shouting something about They’ve found us! We’ve got to move! Run! Something stupid like that. It sort of makes me sad, his obsession with me. I’ll take care of him later, but now Pepita demands my attention.

(note: see the next entry from Madrid here.)