When 2.0 and I first met, he lived in an apartment with his cat, Ebony. 2.0’s job requires him to travel a fair bit, and when called away, I’d check on Ebony for him. This meant Ebony could stay where she was most comfortable, and it seemed more practical than bringing her to my apartment.
Side note: I once witnessed Ebony running from one end of 2.0’s apartment to the other, hissing and charging at the patio door. It was pretty terrifying. 2.0 said, “She just saw her reflection in the patio door and thought it was another cat.” Just to be clear: she murdered that cat. And that’s why Ebony wasn’t invited to stay with my real cats.
Side note to the side note: eventually we all moved into the same house. It was as terrifying as you might expect.
So, we’d only been dating for a few months when 2.0 informed me that he’d have to take an extended trip for work. He was pretty stressed about it. Not because he had to leave me, but because he had to leave Ebony. When he told me he’d asked his landlord to come feed her once a day, I suggested that I could do a much better job of taking care of her. But when I told him Mrs. Rutherford offered to help out as well, 2.0 looked alarmed. “Like the last time? I’m not sure. She’ll probably make fun of Ebony.” And I thought: because Ebony’s… pleasantly plump? “You know,” he continued, “because Mrs. Rutherford made fun of my sled.”
Of course. The sled. 2.0 was still mad about the sled. He hadn’t yet been formally introduced to Mrs. Rutherford, but he’d already decided she was trouble. This was, of course, a great relief, as I had encouraged 2.0 to form his own opinion about The Rutherfords, but I also knew that I couldn’t be with someone who actually liked them.
Mrs. Rutherford and I had discovered the sled a few weeks prior when checking on Ebony. I was taking care of Ebony’s food in the kitchen and Mrs. Rutherford was in the living room, rubbing Ebony’s ears.
Mrs. Rutherford: Rach?
Mrs. Rutherford: Uh… what’s this sled?
movita: What sled?
Mrs. Rutherford: 2.0 has a tole painted sled out here.
I immediately engaged Super Speed Mode to get to the living room.
movita: (looking at the sled) What the hell?
Mrs. Rutherford: Yah. It’s a little sled.
movita: Where’d you find it?
Mrs. Rutherford: Right here, by the couch.
movita: Beside the couch?
Mrs. Rutherford: Yah, tucked in here. It’s sparkly.
movita: And there are snowmen painted on it. (struggling to come to terms with the discovery) Why does he have it?
Mrs. Rutherford: I dunno. You haven’t seen this before?
Mrs. Rutherford: Wow. It’s so…
movita: Yah. Look, we haven’t been dating long…
When 2.0 returned from his trip, I immediately asked about the sled.
movita: But WHERE did it come from?
2.0: Why? Don’t you like it?
movita: I didn’t say that. I’m just wondering why you have it. Did your mother make it?
2.0: What if I made it?
movita: DID you make it?
movita: Oh. Did you… (whispering) inherit it?
2.0: No. Maybe I just really like it. Don’t you like it?
movita: Well, it’s very small. It’s not like you could ACTUALLY sled on it. And you’ve never said anything about liking tole painting before. It just seems…
2.0: You don’t like it.
movita: I didn’t say that.
2.0: But Mrs. Rutherford was making fun of it?
movita: Yes. Yes, she was.
2.0: Well, I don’t think I’m going to like her very much.
movita: Nope. You probably won’t.
And that’s why 2.0 loathes The Rutherfords just as much as I do.