This is how I write most days. With the muse on my lap, purring away. At some point he will gently hook my left hand with his paws and bring it close to himself, tucking his head into my palm.
We have always known that he’s had deeper injuries than what we could see. He has scarring on his face and neck, including a permanent wound above his eye; as near as we can tell he was burned, possibly struck too. Some weeks after he came into our house he had his first seizure, a trembling of his head that lasted several minutes and felt like a lifetime. At the vet’s the phrase brain tumor was used. That was five years ago.
Perhaps I’ve only noticed because I’ve been home more, but I know this year we’ve had a decline: he gets little seizures almost every day now, his back legs are more unsteady. He still runs and tussles with his little brother, we still play our favorite games of mouse-around-the-table-legs and monster-under-the-sheet. He will still throw down with any stray cat. But he’s careful of how he jumps now, and sometimes I can feel him twitching as he drowses in my lap, jerks of the head and legs that have nothing to do with dreams.
This month has been a difficult one: old hurts reopening, creative frustration, big-picture conversations about life and work and money. But if nothing else, I am so glad to have been home so much this year. All animals are special, but like people there are some you just connect with more deeply. This little guy has seen me through nearly a million words since we both sat down together five years ago. I am praying for a million more.