Monday, April 9, 2012
Cleo phone home
“Oh crap,” I say, turning abruptly to face Morgan. “I just made eye contact with Cleo.”
I glance sideways at Cleo where she has been ensconced in her box in the kitchen all morning staring intensely at the ceiling. She is now staring intensely at me.
Her green eyes are quite mesmerizing and I try not to look directly at her again, to let her know I see her. But it’s too late. I watch from the corner of my eye as her round shape rises up from the box on pointed little feet and then moves forward like a balloon sailing across the floor on a current of air.
She never once takes her eyes from me and in my blurry side view I see her mouth open, letting escape a tiny squeak of a half-meow. And then I can’t help it because part of me feels for this little misunderstood cat who from the beginning never quite fit in, and I also think of the time we gave her away for a day. So I look at her and she breaks into a trot, finishes her meow and then lets loose another, more powerful one, and then another. She is circling me now in a well practiced, determined tiptoe, throwing herself against my legs with each turn, staring up at me with those green eyes.
We watch her one-day as we sit at the kitchen table drinking tea. She marches around us spouting her crazy ravings and then beelines to my chair, reaches up and pulls on my shirtsleeve, meows pointedly and stares into my eyes before walking away and settling into her box to once again fix her bulging eyes on the ceiling.
“Maybe she’s trying to contact the Mothership,” I say, and then thinking about the dolphins in Douglas Adams’ The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, add, “Maybe she knows the end of the world is coming and she’s trying to warn us.”
A few days later I walk into the living room with Cleo trailing me at an anxious trot. Morgan looks up from his magazine, “I know what it is,” he says with the tone of someone who really does have it all figured out. “The Mothership has told her to stay near you so they know where to find her.” As if I am some kind of beacon for aliens.
I think of this while I stand in the kitchen and Cleo throws herself against my legs. All it takes is a moment of intense attention and she will be fine for a few hours so I reach down and wrap my arms around her balloon-shaped body, lift her a couple of inches off the ground and hug her fiercely. Her purr is quiet and refined and she loses herself in the moment, eyes closed partway, paws kneading at the air, and then I let her go. She wanders back to her box, tramps in amongst the flattened papers that don’t really crinkle anymore, opens her eyes wide to scan the ceiling, settles in, and waits.