Cat in my Lap

As I write this, there is a cat in my arms.

I have never had a cat in my arms. She feels soft, warm. I can feel her breath on my wrist. She feels – alive. 

Wow. She came slinking over the back of the sofa as I sat here in the dark, perusing blogs. And she pawed my arm, then slowly, gracefully, sat herself in the crook between my two elbows, right in my lap. I can still type because I have free reign of my wrists and hands, but my goodness. She just took comfort in my being.

I don’t like animals very much. I don’t ever want a pet. But this animal just came, and consciously sat in my lap in the dark as I type away. I just felt so honoured. I feel so honoured.

Also, she is BREATHING. Like a real human I can HEAR her breathing. Breathing. Usually she is just a cat. But now she is a cat. Do you know what I mean?

Anyway. That was my thought for the day. A cat crept into my lap and curled up comfortably and I feel fuzzy inside. My iron heart must be melting.

Her name is Tillie.

I think I am falling in love with her.

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Love Letters #19

She was laid up in bed when I went in to see her, ducking my head under the low beam arching her doorway.

She was dressed in the largest nightgown you ever saw – she had completely vanished beneath it. And her face under the fringe of thick, ropy curls was pale.

‘I’ve got a broken heart,’ she said softly, looking up at me with her large, dark blue eyes. So dark they could be black.

‘Well, now.’ I told her, standing a little back so I could get a more complete picture, ‘Is that so?’

‘Yes it is so.’ she folded her arms like she expected to be in this for the long run.

I put my notepad away, and folded my stethoscope. I then sat on the chair next to her bed.

‘Well, then. What’s this about?’

She looked at me for a long time, her eyes piercing me. Then she smoothed the covers before her with small fingers, and took a deep breath.

‘Nobody believes me at all’ she said, ‘everybody thinks I am exaggerating. But I am not. I really, really do have a broken heart.’

She clutched her chest, and I saw in her frightened little face that she genuinely believed it.

‘And why is your heart broken, my dear?’

The tears filled her eyes almost immediately. She picked at the embroidery on her bedclothes, and her mouth trembled.

‘I – I don’t..’

She stopped, and the tears leaked from beneath her drooped lids. She wiped them furiously away.

I sat solemn and still, waiting for her to finish.

‘They said,’ her shoulders heaved, ‘they said they took her to the hospital because she was feeling poorly, but then,’ a tragic sob escaped her, ‘they said – they said – they say-aii-dd..’

She couldn’t stop her tears. I could see her small fists bunching up the bedsheets, and her hair, straw coloured, obscured her wet face.

‘What did they say?’

‘They said she went on holidday-aay-ayyyy’ her voice rose to a wail, and her face was turned up to the ceiling, and the pain on her face made me feel, for the first time, a stab of pity for the poor little thing.

‘Ah,’ I sat a little straighter on my seat, ‘and why does this break your heart, my child?’

She looked incredulously at me, wiping her eyes, glaring.

‘They won’t listen to me, Mister Doctor. They say I am being silly, and that Lucy went on holiday because she was getting old now and needed to relax.’

‘Well perhaps that is exactly what she did do.’ I said, raising my eyebrows a little.

‘She didn’t, Mister Doctor. That is utter – utter poppycock.’ She was firm and resolute.

‘Oh?’

‘She — she died, is what she did, Mister. She died, and my heart is broken, and nobody thought nicely that they could tell me about it. And my Lucy is gone, and I didn’t – even – get to say goodby-yy-yye.’

I looked at the five year old child for a long, long time.

‘You are a very astute little person,’ I said, finally.

‘I think,’ I said, carefully, ‘I think you are right. You do have a broken heart. We must find a way to fix it as soon as possible.’

She pointed at my folded stethoscope, ‘Aren’t you going to use that?’

‘Not for this, I’m afraid. I think a broken heart needs quite a different fix.’ I stood up, ‘It needs first for you to get your little feet out of bed.’

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Curiousity

Yesterday the cat returned through the open window in the front room. She shocked us all, even the owner who came several times, I assure you, worry stricken, to call for her baby. She has returned more confident than ever, but is still spooked about the rest of the rooms in the house. She is getting used to us, though.

This morning I sat with her on my lap, singing to her. She licked my fingers. I was so touched until I remembered I had been making tuna sandwiches beforehand. So much for catterly affection, eh.

We are tremendously pleased that she has returned, of course, and we are loathe to let her go again before we get her a GPS collar. Just until she gets used to us. It shan’t be long. Then she can traverse the neighbourhood as she pleases.

I can’t believe she knew to come back to us, though, despite only being with us for three days! She is a gorgeous thing with beautiful eyes and the most delightfully clean coat ever, spotted with black and ginger and white. She is perfect.

Nine Days

Cats have nine lives. Maybe I could be a cat, and each day could represent a life. A life is a very long time, folks. It is certainly long enough to revise for a final exam comprising of several literary books from several different eras.

The rest of the lives I could use for much needed revision.

Nine days is not enough, how do cats do it.

Speaking of cats. Oh sigh. Such a big big sigh. I am miserable.

My inlaws got a cat on Thursday. She is a beautiful little thing, around five years old, and we’d got her from a lady who is travelling for two years. They say you shouldn’t let cats out for the first two weeks because they need to settle, and they would only just try to find their way to the home they know if they are let out.

So we were terribly vigilant about keeping doors and windows shut.

The darling little creature stuck only to the front room, where she hid under the sofa at first, but then gradually began to come out and lounge on the window sill and meander around the room, letting us tickle behind her ears and stroke her soft, warm fur.

We tried to make her go into other rooms but she would always race back to the front room. She still needed to get used to the place.

This morning at 6am I opened the kitchen window, closing both kitchen doors so she wouldn’t come in. I knew she wouldn’t anyway, she never left the living room! But, you know, just in case.

I accidentally left the window open when I left. It was only a sliver. But I am sure enough for any kitty to get through.

I got a text from my sister in law when I was in another city at around 8am asking if I had seen the cat.

She is missing.

I feel so so awful and terrible and weighed down because I think it is all my fault. My husband thinks it might not be me, because his dad went out late at night and left the front door open. But it might be me. And everybody thinks it is me. And the cat is missing, and her old home is more than 20 minutes away in the car.

I am so worried that I can’t focus on my revision for my exam in nine days, and I know everybody will blame me and the kids will hold a grudge against me (because they are the kind of kids to do that, at least one of them is) and the poor cat wandering about all lost and scared in new surroundings and it’s all just awful awful awful.

Poor kitty.