My Nights with Catwoman

I hold those memories in a special place in my mind, stored away like hidden treasure: my nights with Catwoman.

I will admit, though only to myself, that I used her back in those days. She was a welcome relief from the insanity. She was an escape from the demented clowns and the bisected psyches, a dose of relative reality in my surreal nightlife. I remember every encounter, every run-in with her. I hold those memories in a special place in my mind, stored away like hidden treasure: my nights with Catwoman.

There were those nights—those nights when I seemed to be losing the battle, those nights when it seemed like every step I took forward, the city would take two steps back—when I needed a release. Subconsciously—I don’t ever recall doing it purposefully—I would search for her. When I felt lost or frustrated or fed-up with everything, I would glide aimlessly from rooftop to rooftop to find solace in my city, only to discover myself on Museum Row or the diamond district, the park-front condos or this roof with the eagle’s nest view of Cartier… all her normal haunts… or else in some neighborhood where I suspected she kept a lair… anywhere I might run into her. She rarely disappointed. Eventually, I’d catch a glimpse of that purple, bounding across a roof or balancing on a balcony, and I’d swing into action.

The fights were physical to be sure, but not overly violent, never vicious. In all these years, she was the only one I ever pulled a punch for. I’d forgo furious jabs and kicks for more grapple-style moves: judo tosses, wrestling grabs, blocks and holds. Anything that involved extended physical contact. More effective with her, I told myself. And it was true. I knew she knew how to fight, that much was obvious. She could hold her own against anyone in any style of confrontation. Yet when I grabbed her, putting her in a hold that had six different counters, she would pause. She would let me hold the maneuver a little longer than necessary. Then, when she finally did counter, she would pick the move that, while not necessarily the most efficient, was the one that forced her body momentarily closer to mine before breaking free. Her counters always involved a little more “incidental contact” than necessary; an errant hand, a snaking thigh, her chest pressing hard against my own while her lips pressed in dangerously close to mine.

Then she would break free and run, leaving me standing alone on the rooftop, my mind swimming. The chase was on. Our little game of cat and… bat. Perhaps I stalled a little longer than necessary. Maybe I’d take the route that let me watch her lithe body spring and twist… from roof to fire escape to alley to roof…. High above the city streets, she was truly magnificent to behold. Eventually, I would catch up; I’d land on a rooftop just as she made the other side of it. I’d call out, tell her to stop, and unlike her other… compatriots, she would actually listen. She’d stop, her hip cocking to the side ever so slightly, and then turn… slowly… so slowly, making sure to give me an eyeful of that profile, the city lights dancing around her like a thousand twinkling stars. Then she’d start to move… toward me… not threateningly or menacingly, but surely predatory. She’d have that sly smile as she sauntered towards me, her whole body alive with movement.

From Cat-Tales: Awkward Pauses

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