Bailey, my first cat, died over a year ago.
He was scared of almost everything, it seemed, and so I often said he was more chicken than cat. Strangers coming over sent him to hide under the bed, as did the vacuum monster (our "special" name for the vacuum cleaner). Thunder meant he would hide under the ugly pink chair. Helium-filled balloons? Well, we don't talk about the floating monsters any more. Let's just say they were not allowed in my house--ever--after the first time he saw them. And then there was the Christmas wreath on the back of the front door. He refused to come into the living room for a month, after that one. I'm not sure what he was hiding from in the picture above (maybe bubbles being blown in the house?), but apparently he thought that the bathroom cabinet was the safest place. Especially since he would blend in with the towels and all. I'm sure you don't see him there, so clearly the monster/invader/bubbles couldn't find him either.
And if any of these things came for him in his chosen hiding spot? He would dash past me to get behind the washer and dryer so fast, I almost didn't see him. The first time he did that one, I couldn't find him for hours. When I finally coaxed him out, he was covered in dust bunnies and sneezing.
But Bailey was not afraid of me. He was my sweetheart. My snuggle buddy. My constant companion.
We'd sit in my favorite chair, him on my lap, and he'd knead his paws (we called it "making biscuits") against me purring so hard I thought my voice would tremble from his constant vibrations. This had to happen several times a day. After all, there were lots of biscuits to be made.
If I tried to read a book in bed, Bailey would have none of that. He would pace back and forth between me and my book, effectively blocking my ability to see the words on the page. I often told him he made a better door than a window. He didn't quite take the hint. The whole time he was pacing, he would purr and shove his head into my hands, begging me for the attention that I was instead trying to give to the book. It worked. Every time. I'd start petting him, and he'd eventually curl up on my pillow, forcing me to use him as a pillow if I wanted something under my head. If I stopped petting him in order to turn the page, we'd be back to the pacing. This could go on for hours.
Why am I talking about all of this?
Because the other night, Kiki did exactly the same thing.
I was lying in bed, reading a book, when she decided she wanted my attention. She got up between me and my book, purring as loud as a motorcycle, and pacing back and forth, shoving her head into my hands. I got a good chuckle out of that one, and shoved her away so I could keep reading.
But she came right back. More insistently, this time. Kiki would not be deterred.
And then, just when I'd finally resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to pet her and forget about my book for a while, she plopped down.
On my pillow. (Stretched out like you see her to the right.)
Just like Bailey would have done.
I started crying almost instantaneously. Blubbering like an idiot, actually.
She looked up at me with the same expression he would have had, absolutely sweet and loving and adorable. She doesn't take up as much space on the pillow as he did--Kiki's only about 1/3 the size of Bailey. But she still stretched out all over it so far that, if I wanted to have a pillow, I would have to lay my head on her.
And she let me. She purred even louder when I laid my head on her.
We stayed like that for quite a while, until my tears stopped and I could function like a normal human being again. Then I read some more, petting her constantly, and going through the ritual of her pacing and shoving her head into my hands each time I had to reach up to turn the page.
I read longer that night than I intended to--longer than I usually do before bed--because I didn't want it to end.
Because, for that brief moment in time, I had my Bailey Boo back. My snuggle buddy. My cuddler. My first cat.
I don't know if Kiki will ever do that again. If she does, I'll be ready for it. I'll know to enjoy it, to savor it. To be thankful for it.
It really is just the little things, sometimes. A cat stealing a pillow. A phone call at just the right moment. The perfect cup of coffee. A piece of dark chocolate with sea salt. The Nephew Monster turning to me with his best this-is-serious-business face and asking "'Ere's Buzz? 'Ere's Woody?" like I am supposed to be able to magically conjure Buzz Lightyear and Woody out of thin air right at that moment.
I need to find ways of putting more of this into my writing. These are the moments we love. These are the moments we live for.
What are the small moments that you love?