My Black Cat Moon

My black cat Moon with yellow lunar eyes has crawled up beside me.  Moon often joins me when I am on my easy chair, so she knows exactly how to get comfortable, snuggled between the armrest and my thigh.  Moon will stay awhile, especially if I scratch the top of her head or the back of her neck, but sooner or later she always gets up, stretches and jumps over to the wicker chair beside me.  There she curls up among the large throw pillows within the thick cushioning.  When I go to bed, Moon follows me.  She likes to sleep by my side – that is, if I move to the spare bedroom.  She likes it when it is just the two of us.  On the other hand, if I sit on the couch and watch television with my wife, amazingly Moon is nowhere to be seen.  I’ll find her later, upstairs, yellow orbs open, staring at me in the dark.

Sunday afternoon.  I have been asleep on my chair.  Moon purring beside me.  Woke up to Karen’s voice in the other room talking on the phone.  Something my wife, Karen, said stirred me awake.  No television playing in the house or music; no sound of cars.  I hear Moon like the tide, the heating system turning on and off, the washing machine clicking into its spin cycle from the other room, but, otherwise, all is still.  Karen’s voice, and something she said.  She is talking to a friend about what she saw last night.  She stays up watching movies, documentaries, and episodes of recorded television shows – all the while sliding in and out of sleep on the couch.  This morning, she said, she heard me getting up after she came upstairs at six.  

I thought it was Moon who woke me, scratching at the door.  Frequently on a workday I am up by five and, within an hour, ready for work.  Still, at eight-thirty, literally, I have to force myself out of the house.  Karen can’t stand going to work.  Her solution, she says, is to put off going to bed.  Usually she comes upstairs at two or three in the morning, but, even then, she lies there watching the bedroom television.  It’s the flickering screen and the constant noise that drives me to the spare bedroom.  Certainly the years of forcing myself to be beside her with a pillow over my head listening to the muted channels are long gone.  

I have come to realize our lives are like the phases of the moon.

We have a cat, Frostbite, an all black female with white toes.  Frostbite lives in our bedroom.  She hides in the walk-in closet if we leave the door open.  So our room is always closed, and Frostbite is always on the bed, watching the door, listening.  Sometimes the sound of my steps coming up the stairs throws her into such a panic that she hides until I am gone.  She loves Karen and waits and waits and waits…  Frostbite can’t handle the other cats.  The seclusion of our bedroom is the only alternative to finding her another home.  Frostbite likes the sound of our television and will lie staring at the door show after show.  I think she resents me for turning it off when I get into bed.  She’s like Karen.  Moon with her yellow lunar eyes and vicious claws hates her.

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Categories: Essays

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