Each morning when I wake up, it doesn’t take long for the cat to settle down on my chest.
She seems to be pretty good at detecting when I begin to stir, and she moves from a nearby pillow or a far corner of the bed to lie on top of me. And she will generally stay there until I push her off because I absolutely have to make myself get out of bed.
She doesn’t seem to care that I want to scroll through Facebook updates on my phone, and I often have to navigate the charging cord around her so I can kind of look at my phone over her backside.
She is warm and quiet. She sometimes makes these little squeaks. (I guess I would call it that — it’s kind of like a quiet, short meow. But it almost feels a little hesitant, like “I don’t want to intrude but…” Anyway, that’s beside the point.) She lets me run my hands over her fur, and occasionally she will shift her weight to end up more or less pressed against my face.
In the evenings, when I sit on the couch, she is there again, prodding her way into my lap or onto my chest. She’ll settle down, get up, settle somewhere slightly different, press her face into mine or lick my hands or head. It’s a lot easier to spend a lot of time lying on the couch when your cat makes is clear that she is obviously so comfortable.
It has been several months now since a lot of things I thought I knew began to slip from my hands, like sand draining from a sieve.
Fortunately, the draining out has since stopped, and my head isn’t spinning so much anymore. Yet still, I find myself spending more time than I want to admit stuck inside my head, wondering what, if anything, is really real.
A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend of mine about how I just keep coming back to this anxiety of not knowing where my life is going to take me. How when I think about it, every decision I make is just me stepping out into the darkness and trusting I’m going to end up somewhere. How everything just feels too risky right now. How it can be so tiring to always be wondering what is real.
She tells me maybe I should just start with something small that I can know.
She tells me maybe I should start with my cat: that I have a cat who seems to love me.
Now granted, I feel like you can never really tell whether a cat loves you because, well, it’s a cat. They’re basically walking enigmas.
But I do know I have a cat who seems to really like hanging out with me. Who prods at me for my attention and who spends a lot of time close to me. Who is currently making it very hard to type because she is lying on my chest and forcing me to hold my computer against my knees. Whose face is currently about an inch from my own.
Maybe my friend is right. Maybe I can start small.