When I wake up, there’s a paw in my face. I feebly bat it away. But it returns. I open my eyes to see that the cat is pawing at the covers. He wants under.
“Okay,” I say. “Okay.” I lift the covers, and he climbs in next to me, snuggles up against my legs.
The shower is running. You’re in there, warm water flowing down your back. It occurs to me that I’m basically warm water for the cat.
As I come to, everything I need to do today rushes into my head. The never-ending to-do list. Under the covers, the cat begins to purr.
My bladder is full. You’ll be out in just a few minutes. I need to get with the program.
But the cat is having none of that. He clings to my leg even more fiercely as I shift. “I’m sorry, buddy. I have to get up and go to work,” I explain.
Once I’ve extracted myself, he pops out from under the mass of blankets and eyes me ruefully. It’s a look that says traitor. I was counting on you.
I don’t know how to explain it to him. Since both of his humans work from home, I’m sure the line between leisure and obligation is very thin for him. We’re going to be home all day, so why can’t we lie in bed with him? Why can’t we keep his old body warm on this very cold morning?
You emerge from the shower. “The cat’s ticked off at me,” I tell you. And I explain.
“Aww, poor thing,” you say. You scoop him up into your arms and walk to the window. “Want to look outside and see what’s happening on the street?” you ask him, even though we both know the answer. He’s always in the mood for this of course.
I watch you two for a few moments before heading off to work. It’s an image I’ll carry with me all day. Our life has grown very small in the past year, since we’ve barely left our home, riding out the pandemic. I spend most days looking at the same walls, the same carpet. Looking out the window at the same street.
But the little changes are there.
Anyway, if there’s anything I’ve learned this past year it’s how to find variety in the sameness. This mostly comes in the form of savoring the teeniest, tiniest moments. Making sure I properly reflect upon them before they inevitably slip away.