Tag: love

Centrepiece

Centrepiece

My monkey mind still fumes at the texting driver who almost hit me on a bright street corner. What if I hadn’t been paying attention? What if I hadn’t shouted at him and he hadn’t looked up in time to hit the brakes? His face. He looked angry and sheepish. Probably, mine looked righteous and scared.

Key in lock clicks open the door. “Hey,” I say. She saunters over from where she was somewhere in the bedroom, and slows to a slinky S curve around my calves. I rub her head and behind the ears. She pauses and looks up expectantly. Obediently, I kneel on the floor, bring my face close enough to inhale her old-feline breath, and she gives my cheek a lick or two. Satisfied, she turns her back and trots toward the kitchen, her nails clicking on the hardwood floors.

I drop my things at the door. Scoot to the bathroom to wash up from the outside world. She already has come back to me, mewing. This one, she is irresistible.

She doesn’t like cold food. Room temperature food has a stronger aroma. I have submitted to this fact. Often, I will take cold refrigerated can remnants and pour a tiny splash of boiling water on top and mix it in to warm the juices to an appropriate level of stink for her. Tonight, despite leftovers in the fridge, I indulge her and open two brand new cans. Room temperature. Her newest preference is a mixture — chicken paté and grilled seafood. Much fancier-sounding than it looks, smells, or costs.

I believe she lives with no regrets. Unlike me. Every day, she is just as excited as the one before, though her dinner is almost identical to the one she ate yesterday, on the weekend, last Monday, last year. She loves, savours, the same food. Every day. She has gratitude covered. Unlike me.

Boredom doesn’t faze her. I have seen her sit for long moments in the middle of the living room floor, seeming to watch nothing but dust particles floating around in the sunlight. Seeming, because she doesn’t see them, I think. I do, of course, and my monkey mind berates me for not cleaning properly.

But when I am with her, I know love. So housekeeping, dust, and particles, splinter into nothing.

I cannot help but watch her.

She sits. Or lies there in a t00-small cardboard box. The one her twenty-four cans of chicken paté came in. Or on the ten-year-old dust-mite-filled pillow I folded and stuffed into a now-hers-pillowcase to create a makeshift catbed. Or in the bedroom, where I piled up princess-and-the-pea blankets on top of the old-fashioned radiator.

She lies there. She bears no grudge.

In the morning, when I leave, she mews and rubs up around my calves, then sits and watches as I collect my keys and mind. As I swing the door closed, I see her face get smaller and disappear and when I lock it I feel galloping guilt about why I ever thought locking up a living animal in my home for the day would be okay.

And she forgives me. Every day I am away, she forgives me. Maybe she forgets. She sleeps at least eighteen hours a day, so maybe she rests, wakes, and there I am, unlocking the lock, and no time has passed in her cat-world.

After dinner, she sinks into a belly-filled rest. Before that, she mews, then often curls into my lap, usually for a few minutes only. Then, she settles next to me. As if to say, there. You’ve done your job. Here I am, your reward.

Before long, she hops off and finds one of her eight nests in my small home. She grooms, and her outbreath might hit me with chicken paté smell, which is, truly, awful. It doesn’t matter. She collapses in a heap of drowsy fullness somewhere in sight, usually.

Street lights, dark nights, and near-misses are forgotten. I become like her, in the centre of the moment, on my sofa, mewing softly at the sight of her.

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