Ouaga, the cat, has been fretting, growling and miauling. She bumped her head against my closed door as I woke at 7. Unleashed a desperate “Arrrouuunnwww” and ran to her empty dish when I went to the bathroom.
“Sorry, fat cat, go wake the little guy. It’s his job.”
I swear, she slapped her forehead before swinging her fatness over to Noah’s darkened room. I heard a newly emphatic “Arrrounwww”.
For a full half hour she ran back and forth between the living room and the boy’s room, throwing meaning looks and singing her sad feline tune.
Finally, Noah is up… and smiling. The cat is beside herself with joy and anticipation, rubbing against his legs and cooing like a pigeon on four legs.
Noah and the cat bond in the bathroom. I hear them communicating. Noah is gentle and patient. The cat rolls it’s tongue in dulcet tones.
Noah leaps out of the bathroom and bounds on the futon beside me.
“Dad, I gave her like fresh water, too.”
“Great, she’s been waiting for you like a long lost friend.”
“Yeah, running back and forth and waiting for you to wake.”
“I love Ouaga, because, like even if she’s super hungry she lets me sleep, you know?”
Yeah, because she’s too busy banging her head against my door to wake me up, instead.
Noah settles in front of his six-berry muffin and tall glass of milk. He turns on the TV to his favorite show…Beyblade.
“Hey, Noah, it’s this morning that Subasa fights the last Beyblade battle and we find out who wins the semifinals.”
Noah throws me a perplexed look.
“I’m pumped. I hope Subasa wins. I like him, he’s been through a lot.”
“Yeah he had to … .”
He pauses, stares at his muffin, plucks out a massive blueberry which seems to have taken more steroids than Lance Armstrong. He rolls it around in his fingers before throwing it in his mouth and popping it with a loud noise.
“Uhm now that was one hell of blueberry.”
He turns to me, wide-eyed.
“A heaven of a blueberry would make more sense.”
“Yeah, but it doesn’t exist.”
“So make it up.”
We go silent as the cartoon starts. Anime boys and girls with cool spiky hair and big eyes battle with spinning tops for honor and friendship.
“Dad, I’m afraid Subasa won’t win because like you know he’s had to fight the dark side.”
“But he defeated the darkness inside him, right? By accepting it and going into it rather than trying to deny it.”
Noah again throws me a look.
“Dad, you really do listen!”
“I sure do.”
We watch Subasa struggle to channel the darkness without being overwhelmed, all in extravagant cartoon style with yells and bravado.
“You know, Noah, I just realized that the core of Subasa’s struggle is the same as the protagonist in the film I’m going to shoot next month.”
“You mean Samuel Beckett?”
I nod in appreciation.
“Exactly. Wow, you really do listen?”
He turns, pleased, and does a ghetto move with slashing hands and three extended fingers.
I wet my finger and touch it to his shoulder.
I pull my finger back as if scorched.
The cat has finished her gorging. She jumps on the futon and slides onto Noah’s narrow lap. She turns and twists, claws extended, until she settles down and falls instantly asleep.
“Ow,” says Noah, before scratching her between the ears.
On the TV, Subasa has turned it around and is about to win the battle and his dark side.
“It was clear that the darkness I had always struggled to keep under is, in reality, my most precious asset.” Samuel Beckett