"I wore that horrid yellow dress. Do you remember?" She asked.
Ted nodded. He sat next to her bed, hands clasped.
He didn’t want to remember. The dress, with the badly sewn sequins and scalloped hem. Her face heavy with make up, her eyes red. She stumbled on their walk to the subway, smelling of liquor and hairspray. When she threw up on the sidewalk, he had held back her hair.
"Well." She shook her head. "Those were the days, huh?"
Carla’s bed was next to the window. Her roommate was a quiet old man. They were lucky. Ted remembered the shouting woman and her complicated family from the last hospital. Carla could never get to sleep without pills. Or the the nurse who talked nonstop about her baby boy. She kept his picture clipped to her pocket, a child with the eyes of a lemur. Ted couldn’t distinguish the occasions for her stays, but the details remained.
He reached for Carla’s hand. She closed her eyes. Lately, when Ted visited, Carla liked to reminisce. She only seemed to remember what Ted wanted to forget. She did it with a soft curiosity. “What about that stray cat?”
"Yes," Ted answered. The calico cat had wandered around the courtyard of the apartment, hissing when it saw him. The neighbors fed it. Ted never liked cats, especially not that one. Carla was pregnant and Ted said that the cat would dangerous for the baby. They fought about it. The fight was bitter. He went to stay at a friend’s apartment that was cluttered with empty take-out containers. He slept on the couch and thought about leaving Carla. Leaving New York.
Months later, after Carla had lost the baby, she whispered that the cat had been an omen—that he had been right.