Strange Way to Tell You That I Know We Belong
But I knew him.
When I shoved open the door I would hiss and tisk and scold him away from it. He played his part well, backing inch by inch until he would finally whirl and twist and run t stand next to the scratching post. Not scared of me. Just waiting. After dumping my whole armload on the kitchen counter, I would feed them. Wilbur knew this. He also knew that sometimes, when I was very tired from working my usual 12 to 13 hour day, I would forget that he was just on the other side of the door. And sometimes, because he is a cat and cats are never really Wholly Good, but always sometimes Devilishly Clever, he would slide past me with one fluid leap and bolt for the laundryroom door. This was not part of our Routine, though, so I won't talk about it here.
I would drop everything. Feed them. Pursue Orville with a plastic syringe full of liquid liver-flavored beta blockers. Medicate Orville. Collect my dinner from the refrigerator and sit on the couch, flipping on the television for company and watching whatever crime/detective/medical/suburban drama happened to be on at 9:00 CST. I ate at the coffee table most nights, except when I ate while standing next to the sink in the kitchen. Sometimes, I would get home at 8:00 and eat and then go to the gym because the Biggest Little Gym Ever also has the Most Amazing Hours and I could workout until 11PM. Most nights, though, I would eat, brush my teeth, change into my pajamas, and then sit on my bed with the laptop, looking at craigslist even though I knew I did not need a motorcycle or a free-to-good-home blue heeler pup or a vintage waterfall dresser with mirror.
The cats liked all this very much. I would talk to them sometimes, but for the most part, we were quiet, communicating with blinks and sighs and listening to the night noises of the Edge of the Edge of the Hood. When I sat near the head of the bed with my computer, they would assume their respective positions at the foot, Orville curled at the righthand corner, Wilbur in the left. When I finally turned out the light and slipped under the covers, I slept in the middle.
Now that Expat's home with the visiting GAFIL, Wilbur does not always wait for me on the other side of the door, but sometimes comes yawning from the bedroom some five minute after I have already been home. Sometimes, the Pre-Kids have already been fed. We are no longer silent together; they have to talk for attention and I have to talk to be polite, to appear Affable and Well-Adjusted.
Expat calls the Pre-Kids names and makes fun of their wimpy meows. He calls me names and swats at my bottom when I walk past him in the kitchen. He whines when I don't bring him his morning coffee while he's still lying in a coma-like state in the bed clutching all of the covers to his chest. He grumbles about having to cook to my nutrition plan while he's making another perfectly-seasoned, made-from-scratch dinner with the locally-raised meat and asparagus we picked up at the Dane County Farmer's Market last week. He hates that I use the snooze button on my alarm clock more than once. He snores just infrequently enough and just loudly enough to be Really Frustrating at 3AM.
And two days ago, even though he was out for afternoon drinks with his father, Expat left the bar and walked down the street to help me pick out a pair of Ultra Fabulous, impulse-buy sale shoes, just because I asked him to.
The Pre-Kids and I had worked out a Routine.
I still peel pieces of mail from the metal mailbox. Now, though, I have someone to help me sort it.