This morning I was in the kitchen buttering my toast when I heard two of our community residents passing. I knew they were locals because I heard the thump of walker wheels as they clicked down the sidewalk.
“And that’s where Sweetie Pie lives,” chirped one little voice against the syncopated beat of a cane. “Oooo,” another piped in response.
“She must still be sleeping,” informed the first with a titter. “We better be quiet then,” giggled the second and the pair moved on.
So it had finally come to this I thought. To all and sundry of our little complex this was no longer identified as my apartment but Sweetie Pie’s! I was her incidental roommate. In the way of all cats, Sweetie Pie has become mistress of the house and all without saying a word (she is a silent cat and never meows.) She has fulfilled her karmic role as dominatrix.
By the time I went out to the patio with my toast and coffee, Sweetie had taken up her position near my chair awaiting her morning treat. She is quite satisfied with dry cat food but she does like a dollop of milk in the morning accompanied by a small piece of thinly sliced lunch meat. I rotate her menu among ham, turkey and baloney but her absolute favorite is olive loaf – but only after I pick out the olives.
After breakfast, her tail twitching in a queenly wave adieu, she returns to bed for the first of the sixteen naps she will enjoy today. Her tail has always fascinated me because it never bends. Unlike prior cats I have known whose tails whipped and wiggled like a boneless snake, Sweetie’s tail is as rigid and unforgiving as an Old Testament prophet.
Instead of curling around her feet when sitting or wrapping around her nose when sleeping, Sweetie Pie’s tail is short and sturdy like a bottle brush. It does not curl but lashes back and forth like a furry windshield wiper. It is an exclamation point, never a comma or question mark.
I wonder if there is a correspondence between this preference for punctuation and her uncanny silence. There is something mysterious and potent about her meow-less state but like many feline mysteries this one may never be solved in my lifetime.
I repair to the corner of the dining room I refer to as my artist’s studio and prepare to begin another round of painting. The rice paper I was waiting for has finally arrived and armed with two new and untried brushes I will pounce upon its virginal whiteness and unleash the inky blackness of my imagination.
I glance into the bedroom and see Sweetie Pie enthroned about the satin comforter in the midst of her morning ablutions. I smile contently, peruse my cd’s and consider the musical environment in which I wish to create. Is this a morning for Rachmaninoff or Cesaria Evora? The soft thud of a black tail thumping on the bed catches my attention. Sweetie’s golden eyes transfix me like a pinned butterfly. Perhaps it may be better, I think, to maintain a Zen-like silence until her nap is over.