She smelled like maple syrup. I’ve got no idea why or how, but she did. She’d crawl into my lap and trill in her kitty way that it was time for some sweet, sweet lovin’. I’d rub her kitty cheek bones, stroke her long black hair and lean in for a deep breath of syrup scented goodness from her warm shoulder blades. I miss her.
She played fetch. Sitting on the carpeted floor during study breaks, we’d spend hours tossing and retrieving. She liked those fake furry mice, but tie-line was her favorite toy to fetch. After we’d moved to Hells Kitchen and I was no longer hanging lights with the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, it was harder to replenish her supply. I think that’s why she fell in love with Rocco so quickly; he’d bring over a fresh batch of tie-line for her sassy ass each time he visited. I miss her.
She was a social butterfly and always craved the spotlight. When it was just we two living in our strange condo community of retired widows, she’d chew her way through the screen door and break into the neighboring condo to visit another cat. Countless times I’d pull up in Eddie, my little gray Saturn she loved riding in, to find her standing on my rooftop, mewing a welcome home. I’d jog down the hall and out the back door, laughing. She’d come bounding over the crest and wait patiently for me to hop onto the retaining wall and pull her into my arms. I miss her.
She was so poufy you’d have guessed she weighed twice as much as Lucy, but she was light as a feather. I loved to watch her bathe. She’d start by licking her right paw and cleaning her tiny white milk mustache. Then she’d move on to the snowy white hair on her chest. She’d rear her head back and start the lick right under her chin. In a quick, graceful movement she’d bob her head downwards, jut out her chin, and pull her head back in one long sweep of her tongue. Many a time I caught her at the end of that lick, head pulled back as far as it could go, with another half inch of hair to lick – completely flummoxed. I miss her.
When I lay aching and sobbing on the couch, shivering cold but unable to tolerate a hat on my bald painful head, she’d hop up on the pillow above me curling her soft warm belly around my crown. I got more solace from her sweet face than I can ever express. She was sick before I was diagnosed and sick once I got better, but somehow she spent a solid year taking care of me. I think I wore her sweet little heart out. I miss her.
She was also a raving bitch. She knew she was the alpha cat and had no hesitations to abuse her authority. If Lucy slept peacefully in my lap, Simone need only utter one hiss from the ground before Lucy obligingly vacated the space for her majesty. No matter how soundly I might be sleeping, she had no reservations about laying on my chest and kneading my throat until petting commenced. I miss her.
I could fit her head in my mouth. It’s probably best not to ask how we figured that out, but she’d watch calmly as I opened my maw as wide as possible then close her eyes and purr as I lowered my head over her whiskers. Back in the light, she’d toss her head, twitch her ears and wait for applause. We were quite a hit at parties. I miss her.
Kneeling on the cold linoleum floor so our faces were at the same level, I begged for her forgiveness and thanked her for thirteen wonderful years. As I kissed the soft forehead above her blank yellow eyes, she started to purr. “Liar,” I whispered, “But I love you, too.” I miss her.
She knew the sound of my footsteps. Rocco said he always could tell I was in the building before he heard my key in the door. As soon as I started climbing the first flight of stairs, she’d rush to the door and chirp a welcome. No one greeted me Saturday night when I opened the door, my collar soaked with tears and rain, an empty carrier on my shoulder. No one demanded treats on Sunday after Rocco dragged me through a beautiful sun filled day. No one will play hide and seek with me after drinking a glass of wine and rolling in a mound of catnip. No one will sit on the lid of the toilet tonight as I brush my teeth, fussing for me to hurry so we can cuddle. I miss her.