Cats Falling, Dogs Barking and Doors Closing

Leche, post-swan dive from the roof.

The comida corrida place across the street from us closed last week.

Now, when I say, “across the street,” I mean the place across the street from our home in Mexico. My husband told me about the closing in one of our phonecalls. And this closing isn’t an August vacation.

A comida corrida service is a fresh and simple meal, that includes the main dish, soup, a drink and desert, all at an accessible fixed price.

Picasso and I ate many times there. We also brought friends to eat there as well. But we had a soft spot for them for other reasons besides their food.

The roof of our house is completely open, i.e., you can walk right to the edge and look down at the street. It’s three flights up.

Two of our cats fell from our roof on two different nights and lived to tell the tale, with minimal injuries.

I was living and working in Mexico City for both falls. The second time, Picasso realized after a few minutes into his morning that our cat Leche wasn’t showing his face. This was unusual, because Leche is a big meower, particularly when he’s hungry. He looked for Leche everywhere.

Nothing. Picasso was attending a class at the time, and his bus wasn’t going to wait for him and his lost cat.

Walking home after class, the owner from the comida corrida place across the street called out to him.

She asked him if we owned a white cat.

My husband said yes.

The owner asked him to come with her, because she thought she had our white cat in her kitchen.

And sure enough, there was Leche, dirty and shaking in the kitchen of the comida corrida, hiding behind a big refrigerator.

The owner told Picasso that she couldn’t sleep that night and heard a pack of dogs barking outside. After a few minutes, the barking subsided. There was a hole in her front living room window that faced the street. Her husband never got around to fixing the hole, no matter how many times she nagged him.

There was a light scratch down the length of Leche’s belly, which must have happened when he jumped through the hole in the glass window to escape the pack of dogs.

My husband took Leche to the vet, where he declared that Leche was one hell of a lucky cat.

And apart from leaping from tall buildings in a single bound, Leche is one of those crazy cats who loves water. We think he was an aquatic animal in another life. So it was a treat for Picasso to give him a bath after his stressful visit to the vet. Leche closed his eyes and stood perfectly still, the water pouring off of his muddy and matted fur.

After Leche’s death-defying drop, we started to close the door to the roof at night, and our cat accidents stopped.

But it’s a bad sign that the comida corrida closed their doors. The place is an anchor on our block. It’s symptomatic to what’s happening in our area of Mexico.

And the reality is that stories like the comida corrida on our block closing are simply not going to hit the AP newswire.

Their closing is the canary in the coal mine for our street. The owner spoke previously with Picasso about the crime, the violence and the decrease in customers.

My hope today is that the comida corrida picks up some of Leche’s post-fall mojo, with ideally nothing that a little luck and goodwill couldn’t fix.

May they find their equivalent to the hole in the window.

And may the barking on our street subside.


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