We got the big orange tabby when Thing1 was in high school, going through a rough time healthcare wise as he was getting ready to expand his boundaries to try to go to college. My sister and I had talked our parents into “going to look at“ cats often enough to know that Jim Bob and Princess Jane would belong to me and the Big Guy, both because we would end up doing more of the caretaking and because the boys are getting older. I worked at home at the time, and the animals kept me company most of the day, so it took two seconds for the two cats to warm their ways into my heart.
Thing1 was on his academic walk about for most of the year but is home now. Thing2 is out of school for the rest of the year, and, even though I no longer work at home, my pneumonia has made strict Quarantine a necessity. There’s plenty of company around the house.
Still, I get up in the morning to write, and Princess Jane is on the fuzzy blue chair. Katie the wonder dog is on the fuzzy blue dog pad (if princess Jane hasn’t decided to sit there instead). Jim, who has been sleeping at my feet all night, will take a quick trip to the food bowl to graze and, five minutes after I sit down, hop on my desk, knock a few pens or post pads onto the floor and then curl up in my arms to make sure my hands are properly positioned for typing.
Tonight, though, there’s no orange tabby therapy at the foot of my bed. Our boy without boundaries went out for a walk this afternoon and has yet to return. He’s been out overnight once or twice in the past, always making me worry and always showing up the next day with a very satisfied look at his face.
But tonight I find myself looking towards the window every five minutes, hoping to see him pressed up against the glass with an impatient look on his face. I go to the deck to call for him every ten minutes, trying to hear the slightest hint of a meow, and knowing i’m being ridiculous.
The world is falling apart, and I am going to pieces over a cat.
The last month at home, our family has been mostly focused on how incredibly lucky we are to be able to be home and (mostly) well. After four close-knit weeks, we’re still be able to share a good fart joke.
The adults in the house keep abreast of the news. We have all expressed horror that the number of Americans killed by this pandemic is almost equal to the number who were killed in the Korean War. The numbers have grown so quickly, however, that they have become statistics overshadowing the people behind them in addition to all let all the other losses and trials this pandemic has caused.
I love Jim and how his extreme need to be cuddled coincided with my two boys moving well beyond the cuddle stage, but I know my occasional sobs are about more than just the worry he’s causing right now.