Thursday, May 25, 2017


I woke up with Blitz's shoulder pressed into the palm of my hand. I hadn't fallen asleep that way. He was further from me when I fell asleep. He had shifted, while I was unconscious, to having as much of his body as possible touching my hand.

Everyone needs to be touched.

Yesterday, I had stopped in at Petco to get a couple of cans of kitten food. Blitz won't eat the stuff I bought. I bought a case of it and he'd happily chowed down a third of it. Then one day, I put a heaping spoonful into a tiny blue and white bowl I'd bought from Uwajimaya. Yes. This kitten eats from lovely bowls. I hadn't planned on it, but I'm a woman who has interesting rocks I found in a crystal bowl my mother gave me. She would be appalled if she knew.

And that one day, Blitz would no longer eat the kitten food that was so yummy the day before. Note to self - never buy the same kitten food twice. Never ever buy a case.

Happily, Teddy snuck into the kitchen later on and wolfed down the awful stuff.

I'm still stuck with two-thirds of a case of kitten food that the kitten will no longer eat. So, I headed to Petco to try something else.

At Petco, I always stop in to see what cats need to be adopted. If there are no attendants, I talk to them and stick my finger into the tiny holes if they want to be petted. Sometimes they want that and sometimes they are too frightened. I get that. People are scary. You can't just trust a person because he comes up to you and talks quietly into your ear. People are more complicated than that.

Yesterday, when I went to look in on the cats, an attendant had a cat out of her kennel. She was gorgeous. I knew her. At least I knew her in a previous incarnation. She was my angel.

"Can I come in?" I asked. The sign said they weren't open for visitors for another hour.

"Sure. This is a rest period for the cats, but come in anyway." Was I a prospective adopter? She wouldn't want to lose someone ready to bring home a cat.

And the cat came over to be petted. And petted. And petted.

I held back tears.

During my freshman year in college, my roommate announced one day that she was going to the Humane Society to adopt a cat.

"But animals aren't allowed in the dorm rooms," I said.

"I know. So, you won't tell anyone."

She was adamant and so I was not surprised that afternoon when she came home with a gorgeous cat. The cat had long luxurious fur. She had a white bib and feet and gray and tan calico. She had sharp green eyes like my roommate. They were perfect for each other, two of the beautiful people. My roommate named her Angel.

Within a week, Angel had peed on my pillow twice and broken the perfect clay pitcher my sister had made for me. You should never bring anything really nice to a dorm. Roommates and their cats were certain to ruin them for you.

Angel, my roommate told me, had come from an abusive home. She only peed on my pillow because she was afraid.

But I'd been asleep at the time. What the hell did she have to be afraid of while I was asleep? So that night, when my roommate was asleep and Angel snuck over to my bed to presumably squat on my pillow, I grabbed hold of her. I growled a little and whispered, "If you have any intention of staying in this room, you will stop peeing on my pillow. Forever." She stared back at me.

Then, I petted her long fur and told her she would be okay here. If she stopped the peeing.

And you know what? She never peed on anything except into a potted plant that I liked ever again.

She still broke things though, a small mirror my sister had made, a replacement pitcher, a vase. If I was studying too much and not paying sufficient attention to her, she'd push something breakable. I'd look up. She'd stop. I'd look back at my work and she'd push it again, closer to the edge of the desk. I'd look up, glaring at her. The edge of my vase was hanging off the desk.

"You wouldn't dare."

"I would." And she'd push it a little more.

Angel was interested in gravity. And the center of gravity. When she pushed it one more bit and the center of gravity hung too far over open space, it toppled off the desk and crashed in such a lovely way, pieces scattering across the floor.

That got my attention. Then, as I cleaned, Angel would thread through my feet and hands to get all of the touching that she needed.

She was a needy child. Regular touching wasn't enough for her. You had to put both hands into the job. You needed to stare at her with love and adoration while you petted Angel. Angel had to be the center of your universe at least four or five times a day. After about six months of staring into her eyes this way, I became Angel's person. It was inevitable. My roommate loved her and needed her, but Angel belonged to me. Or, more clearly, I belonged to Angel, at her service until death do us part.

There was a marriage of sorts. It feels good to be bonded to another creature in this lonely world. To her, I was beautiful no matter how hard my roommate worked to make me feel fat and stupid. Angel knew better. Angel snuggled into my sweater drawer and seldom crossed the room.

And she hadn't changed a bit in her newest incarnation. She still demanded two hands and a deep hypnotizing gaze. She stayed interested in being petted long after another cat would swat your hand and walk away. She still loved me even though death had taken her away from me and I couldn't care for her properly while she was gone.

I looked up at the attendant.

"I can't take her home. I really can't. We're full. We have two cats and a dog already." Angel was trying to hypnotize me. I could feel it.

"She doesn't like dogs."

I didn't correct the woman. All cats love my Teddy. All cats are the boss of my sweet Teddy and they know he is absolutely no threat to them.

But our house is truly full. Mike would not let me bring home another cat. He didn't really want the last one, the one who snuggles up against the palm of my hand while I sleep. If I brought home another cat, Mike would start calling me the crazy cat lady. I would hate that.

I would hate it because it's true.

Thank you for listening, jb

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