“Understand that your cat is a whore and can’t help you. She takes on love with the whiskery adjustments of a gold-digger. She is a gorgeous nomad, an unfriend. Recall how just last month when you got her from Bob downstairs, after Bob had become suddenly allergic, she leaped into your lap and purred, gutteral as a German chanteuse, familiar and furry as a mold. And Bob, visibly heartbroken, still in the room, sneezing and giving instructions, hoping for one last cat nuzzle, descended to his hands and knees and jiggled his fingers in the shag. The cat only blinked. For you, however, she smiled, gave a fish-breath peep, and settled.
‘Oh, well,’ said Bob, getting up off the floor. ‘Now I’m just a thing of her kittenish past.’
That’s the way with Bob. He’ll say to the cat, ‘You be a good girl now, honey,’ and then just shrug, go back downstairs to his apartment, play jagged, creepy jazz, drink wine, stare out at the wintry scalp of the mountain.”
-Lorrie Moore, “Amahl and the Night Visitors: A Guide to the Tenor of Love”
I can’t choose favorite Lorrie Moore stories because every single one of them is beautiful and perfect and devastating, but this is one of my favorite openings to any story.