You Don't Know Me
Kate Hill Cantrill

But I know you. You answered your phone from across the room, yelled, Yes! Hello! It seems I've accidentally kicked my phone across the room but here I come! Hello, hello!

It made you nervous that I called. I called you on this knowingness of mine.

But this you know: How to obfuscate any action you take at any time. Your hands were simply slick with cocoa butter. You know me, you said. You know how dry my skin can get.

And this I know: At the present moment, I am more beautiful than you.

What with?

What with the fact of that dumb mustache, of that false and way-old need to make me laugh. The story of choice? The one of the cops who broke inside your home.

"We had a call of a domestic disturbance, sir."

"But it's just me," you said, "and my two cats."

"What would you have us do?" the officer asked. "We came to the door; we peered into the window; we saw a human head roll over these concrete floors."

You had been returning from work, you told me, and weren't ready for a fight. You said to the officer, "It was probably a cat. More so, I mean, than a human head."

"That, sir, is what we believe now to be true. But what would you have had us do? We felt it important to get inside."

I once felt it important to get inside, too. You seemed to let me get there, but then, alas, and I don't know, something seemed to shut me out.

You don't know me. You don't know that I had enjoyed the story of the rolling head—no, running cat—on more than one occasion. You don't know that my favorite part was when you shrugged, leaned back and barrel chested while you laughed.

But I know you. I know that sometimes you'll say something aloud—How are you? you'll say—and then you'll mouth it silent with your lips. (How are you?)

What's happening?

(What's happening?)

It was most likely just a cat. More so than a human head.

(More so than a human head.)

It seems in this there are two of you—the silent and the talking you. What could you possibly need of me, I wonder. Most likely nothing. You have your cats. You have your few good stories. You have that silent you who reshapes your words and tells them back to you.

Ah, you don't know me, you're probably saying.

(You're probably saying.)

Or possibly not.

(Or possibly not.)

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