If I am lucky, our cat Sasha may push back the slightly open door of our bedroom in the early morning, arrive silently at my side of the bed, miaow once to announce her presence, and wait for me to peer over the side at her. She is beautiful, with a large round head, piercing lemon-yellow eyes and a slight silver sheen to her bluish grey fur.
Silly girl. She thinks she needs an invitation. I inch back a bit towards Bill to make more space between me and the edge, and pat the mattress. “Hi Sasha. Hi sweetheart. Come on. Come on up, Sosh.” I use my talking-to-a-young-child voice, perfectly serviceable in another context forty-odd years later.
She thinks about it. She might still decide to make for the litter box in the adjoining bathroom; get a drink or a snack from one of the two bowls against the wall; head for the Shaker-style set of chairs tied together to make a bench by the double window. There she can look out under the light-proof shade to the leafy street.
But no. This time it’s me and my obliging right hand she wants. Up she jumps into the waiting space, turns around once, twice — sometimes three times — then collapses against me. Her head is towards the foot of the bed, but at just the right horizontal meridian for me slowly to stroke her silky forehead, deeply furred cheeks, velvet ears, and whole delicious length all the way to the thick tail extended against my cheek.
After a while she gives a half-turn so that my hand can do her belly, a paradise of angora down. Claws in, her paws manipulate me. She knows exactly where she wants it — up, down, between the spread legs, not quite there, a little higher. I obey, a lover wishing only to please. All of her vibrates with a low rumbling purr. She is happy.
I am happy, too. I lie on my back, eyes closed — right hand on her, left hand clasped in Bill’s — enveloped in creaturely security. I feel his even breathing along one side of me, hers along the other against my midsection — all of us warmly wrapped in quilt, conjoined, our three hearts beating steadily.
I want it to last forever. (Don’t say anything. I know, I know.) And sometimes, since neither Bill nor I need jump to the ring of an alarm, it does last — if not forever, at least for a couple of hours. Sasha falls asleep, my hand stills, imperceptibly Bill and I doze off, in the comfort of a time-suspended dream.