We can’t think of a better way to wrap up animals week than with Jessica Lee Richardson’s New Voices story “House Hunt.” In this tale, a woman searches for a new home with her best friend, who just so happens to be a lion. We were charmed by this story’s courage and cadence and we are so pleased to share it with you.
The eye green and uncommonly unspiked at the iris; the mane thick and piss-riddled color and scent; toe, a boulder’s girth; nail, a curved kerosene tooth; tooth, a blade. Blood. And yet, or when, should I say, once upon a time, we came to live together, a rhythm was established. This rhythm had danger not at bay, necessarily, but sitting down to tea with us. Not that we actually sat down to tea. But we did cuddle. Yes, I cuddled a six-year-old lion suffering from a complex stress disorder in my home. Am I a badass now? Perhaps I am. What I feel is a pillowed hollow, though.
Let me tell you what happened: he chose me. Lions had chosen me before and whenever a cat picks you it’s an honor. But enormous animals normally don’t insist upon moving into your home. This one would not leave my side. He pressed his head into my legs and swiped at my knees if I tried to run an errand. I could see this annoying some people. This symbol of courage kowtowing before little old you. But I must have needed the attention. I loved him almost immediately and it only grew from there.
On the first day he moved in, he sniffed the length of all my floorboards, stuck his head in my tiny closets disapprovingly. Try as we might, the sheer girth of one another, the radiant heat, was a spectacle. We could not tune each other out. We took to staring while the other had their back turned, not that I could turn mine fully. There was love between us of the purest order but there was never comfort.
After only a few weeks living in my home, he began to lose his hair in tufts.
Read the rest of “House Hunt” here.