Lately, I’ve been waking slowly, emerging from pleasant imaginings. The dream feeling is delicious. The waking feels like ripping away from someone I love.
The delicious is instantly replaced by the deleterious.
I have a full bladder so I verticalize and stumble to the bathroom to join my liquid gold to Noah’s. The cat meows beside her empty dish. It’s a mere two feet from the toilet bowl, so I wonder whether urine and food have become wonderfully connected in her pea-brain. Like people, who eat shit and like it, metaphorically.
Noah is back in bed, wide awake and pretending to sleep. I join him, snuggle under the covers of his narrow bed. He fakes sleep, closed eyes, open mouth. Until the cat rushes to join us.
Whenever Noah and I huddle together, bed or futon or whatever, the cat will hurry to push her big butt into us. She turns and turns and purrs and purrs and generally settles her full weight on Noah.
The cat jumps on the bed and the boy.
“Ouuuufff, she’s got her claws out.” He’s forgotten to pretend-sleep.
The cat is in fact flexing the pads on her paws, claws in full extension, softening the spot before dropping down and going instantly to sleep.
“Push her off, Noah.”
“No, I like it when she does that. Even if it hurts it’s because she loves me. Little-bitty-cutey pie, you love me too eh, Ouagaaaaaa.”
He’s scratching her behind the ear. She’s contorting and purring, pushing against his fingers for maximum effect. Her claws are dancing a slow number on his chest.
Damn…. sounds like soft porn. Gotta stop.
“Look dad, even Crounsey wants to join in.”
The Siamese fighting fish on Noah’s night table does seem to be staring through the fish bowl at the family follies.
“Crounsey has become a good friend, dad. He’s part of the family now. And what’s really cool is that, you know, when I feed him? Yeah, we talk. And like I tell him everything, dad. Yeah, it’s because Crounsey is really good with secrets.”
“How about the cat?”
“Naaaaahhhh….shes gossipy, talks all the time. Meeeowww, wow-meeewwwwowww. She never stops.”
“Yeah, but it’s cat talk.”
“Soooo !?!. When she goes on the balcony, there’s like cats everywhere and they communicate, dad.”
“Sure, but I think they talk about poo and food and birds. They don’t care who you’re dating.”
“Dad, I’m nine! I don’t date. I just have a crush, it’s reeeeaaalllyyy not the same. Dad, did you ever like have a crush, on like a girl.”
“Oh, yeah, hundreds!”
“Hundreds! Wow, I’ve only like had four. And two of them were for the same girl.”
“You had a crush twice on the same girl? How’s that possible?”
“Easy. I had a crush on, remember in daycare, when I was like, how old?”
“Yeah, five, I had a crush on Ludi. Then I went to school and she went to another school and like I forgot all about her.”
New chicks everywhere in Grade One.
“Yeah and then we like went to the park in summer and remember we like met her again and BOUM, I was crushed again.”
I crush, you crush, we all get crushed!!
“Yeah, it’s like that, dad.”
A moment of silence. He winces as the cat plants her claws a little deeper. She stretches in purrrfect delight. The fish looks on, pokerfaced.
“Dad, when I’m old like you I want to like get married and have kids. But you know when I get married it won’t like be because I’m crushed. That’s for kids. I’ll be an adult. Owww….Ouaga, not the jewels.”
He moves out from under the cat whose claws have strayed to vulnerable areas.
“I’ll need those if I want kids, right dad? Hah, that’s a good one.”
The cat jumps out of bed, the kid follows. I join the movement. I look over the shoulder. The fish is crawling out of its bowl.
We’re all rushing to be crushed.