We sometimes find ourselves contemplating choices that we happily made at the time, yet now are forced to re-examine in the bright light of experience.
Cats are one of those choices. We think back to the day we first met, that seminal moment when something outside our own little world reached in and touched us where nothing quite so soft and gentle has been felt in a long time. That first feathery tingle of something new and full of possibility lures us in with plaintive eyes and playful movements that speak to us in a way no words ever could.
So, in that moment we choose. Oh, we know that there will come trials and challenges. Those are inevitable outcomes when something so new and full of energy is brought into a life that has been well ordered and predictable. But that’s the thing! We need that spark of fire, that chaotic learning curve of melding two things so different into a single life.
We spend months integrating our routines and adjusting to the new presence. A wholly new order arises, built from the foundations of need and necessity. Walled with dependence and closeness. Roofed with affection and enjoyment. A new home is built from the joy of that spark.
Soon enough, that soft and gentle touch that once thrilled us in its innocence becomes more demanding. We barely notice that each touch must be paid for in pain and rended flesh. What had been seen as teasing playfulness slowly moves to contemptuous disdain for our attention. What had seemed so warm and inviting becomes just another opportunity to see an aloof strut as its back is turned to us in favor of more important things.
Over time we become accustomed to the demands on our time. We gladly accept the brief moments of affection we are gifted with. That all too rare glimpse back to the spark that drew us together beguiles us in its deceit. The realization that it is only offered when the bowl is empty or the fur needs stroking comes dully through the haze of remembered happiness. We tend the needs now as simple duty to our own imaginings, a balm of busy work to mask the truth.
Time passes as it always does, in fits and starts between too many demands and complete avoidance. Eventually our shelves of stored memory lay empty and shattered on the floor. We are allowed no reminders of the past as each one is pushed aside to make space for more emptiness. Those treasures of a past before are little more than glittery baubles sacrificed in sparkling shards to amuse what no longer hides its disdain. And we sweep away the broken pieces of our own life, tossing our own past to the wind without a thought. Irreplaceable pieces of us are cast aside without a thought to appease the whim of what does not care.
Days become months, months become years. We are abandoned often, left to wonder what we did wrong or to worry that we did not do enough. Our thoughts turn dark and hopeless as time passes and suddenly we are greeted by that familiar sound at the door. All is well again, our relief that we are again important drives our questions to a corner of our mind and hides them in blankets made of ignorance and sewn with threads of hope.
The sun once again now shines through the window, casting golden rays across the breakfast table. We smile our pleasure as our lap is visited with playful softness and bright eyes hold us mesmerized, blinded yet again to true intent.
Don’t hate the cat for stealing the milk. You taught it that it could.
Be angry at yourself for not paying attention, it told you that it would.