6. Cats Are Zen

The midmorning sun reflects off my kitchen windowpane casting a warm yellow square of light onto the side of the house next door. There is a smaller window there, and a big orange cat who likes to sit there in the warmth of that square of secondhand sunshine. As the morning progresses, the sun moves. The cat starts out scrunched up the in the right-hand corner of the window in an uncomfortable position, which softens and lengthens a little bit at a time as the sun moves, and the warm square widens toward the center of her  window. She relaxes into it. She likes to nap there every morning.

When I come to the sink at my window to rinse my coffee cup, her closed eyes blink wide open with a look of melodramatic shock and surprise. She sits frozen, staring at me with those incredibly wide unblinking green eyes. They are so big and round, I’m thinking she looks like a stuffed toy cat, and I have to laugh. I wave at her in my window. She still stares at me, totally incredulous. I step back from my window and she goes back to sleep. How did she see me here with her eyes closed ? Did she feel me watching her ?

Cats are very zen. They would have to be, otherwise they would be bored to death. They sit around the house all day with nothing much to do you except meowl for breakfast, take maps, and prowl stealthily through the underbushes in the yard on pretend, or perhaps real, safaris.

Cats have a rich fantasy life. I know this from several cats I’ve been acquainted with. One of them, Kitty Olson, used to practice ballet steps and pretend she was dame Margo Fontaine. Other times she played out fantasies of being a circus performer and did all sorts of flying acrobatics off the hallway wall. It was amazing to watch her suddenly bolt through the kitchen into the hall very fast, leap onto the wall about three feet up in the air, run a few quick steps horizontally and then bound in the opposite direction through the living room doorway onto the couch. Her little pawprints on the wall were an interesting conversation piece when friends came over.

I lost her in the divorce. Jim got custody. Even after I had made the decision to leave, I stayed another three weeks until her kittens were born. I didn’t want her to face that alone. The pregnancy changed her, sadly. It forced her to realize that she was a woman cat now, and not just a happy young girl. That was so hard for her. Devastating. Life-changing. Just as it was for me too, just as it is for all of us. We know we can never go back.

©2010 DarkhorsePress.com

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