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Now that my houseguest is gone, my cats are full of confidence again: Lucy is rolling on her back in the sunshine, rubbing on table legs she mistakes for mine; Sara is running with wild abandon around the house with my earplugs in her mouth. At two, they don’t have a lot of words yet, but their expressions and noises speak volumes. For instance, Lucy—by far the quietest and most demure member of this household—circled my work chair this morning, meeping, until I got up and followed her as she meeped down the hallway into the spare room where the houseguest’s suitcase had been. She stood her ground, locked eyes with mine and continued to meep vigorously, which I took to mean, “Mother! This is MY room! This is where I come in the morning with you to do our stretching, and then my late-morning sunshine patch is right over there! You know this, yet you allowed Stranger to be in here with his clothes and wire hangers! Wire hangers! I did not like that! I have been hiding under the bed for a week! Unacceptable!”
I’ve apologized to Lucy several times for her displacement, and since she is also slow-witted, she won’t remember what happened. Sara on the other hand, demonstrative by nature, has chosen several colorful methods to convey her displeasure at the change in routine, reduced playtime, reduced snuggle time, and utter inconvenience caused by Stranger. This morning she jumped on top of the fridge, where she has never been before, and yowled next to the Cheerios box: “This is not a Cheerios family! We do not eat Cheerios! We eat oatmeal and tiny pieces of smoked oysters and we lick the bowls of lentil soup!”
I got her down from there, but just now she curled up in my lap on her back, gazing up at me with her paw on my chin, purring, “Mom, there were golf clubs in my hiding spot all week. You delayed the washing of our blankets and the clipping of our nails, you closed the bathroom door in our faces, and for a week you did not play the fishing-rod game with us. It was too loud in here, and that man used a different soap. We like it when you’re here alone with us, grading your papers with the Easy Listening station on all day, banging your head against the wall and making choking noises. We don’t like the Adult Alternative station, Mom. We like it when the garage door wakes us up and we come to the door to see you, not you and somebody else. And Mom, I don’t know if you noticed, but that man didn’t have any fur on his head.”
I think it would be hard to date somebody with two little girls like this, two little girls who anchor me. I never looked at it that way.