Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet. ~Colette
I’m writing this post with my new Dragon Dictate software. I’m not sure I’ve quite gotten the hang of thinking out loud–literally–yet. It’s strange to hear my own voice echoing against the walls of my apartment, a space that is usually so quiet. My cat, Stella, is sitting on the couch next to me. We both just heard the sound of another cat meowing and turned to look at one another. She has now turned back to the more important task at hand, napping, and tucked herself against my left hip, her chin resting on her paws. I think that she is used to hearing me address her in the singsong baby talk voice I always swore I would never use with a pet or child. This strange, serious dictation voice, however, is not my “normal” voice, singsong or otherwise. But I’m not worried. I’m sure we will adjust to this, just as we have adjusted to all the changes we’ve both encountered over the past six months.
I resisted adopting a cat for many years. I always said I was “more of a dog person,” or that I was too busy to have a pet. And I was. In a previous life I was gone every other weekend, flying to New York or Los Angeles, attending conferences, always on the move. But then I got sick. And not briefly sick, like I had been before, not sick for a few weeks or a month, but sick for months and months. And suddenly that part of my life ended. The radius that separated me from the circumference of my life shrunk from thousands of miles to less than one hundred. Travel began to take serious planning and mean a gamble with my health. I’m not even sure that I was aware of this at the time. I was too busy with the business of being sick, and trying to get well. I know I didn’t grieve the shrinking boundaries then.
The Sunday before Labor Day, I decided to take a trip to the Atlanta Humane Society. I told myself I was “just looking,” but I picked up a litter box just in case. I spent time with four cats that afternoon. In the last 30 minutes before the shelter was closing, I met Stella. Or maybe I should say that Stella found me. And now I can’t imagine my life without her. She keeps me company while I’m working, she greets me at the door when I come home from school, she sleeps next to me on the bed and sometimes—when I wake up in the middle of the night—I reach out to pet her and I am reassured, just knowing she’s there.
This entry was composed as part of the ChronicBabe blog carnival “you are loved.”
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” —Victor Frankl
I’m not sure what has changed in the past few days, but I feel like I’ve gone from a mental space of worry to one of relative peacefulness and acceptance. It doesn’t feel like anything has changed inside of me; in fact, I feel just as lousy as I did last week—the usual MTX gripes and joint pain along with a bonus infection. But something has definitely shifted.