Thursday, December 01, 2011

Golden

The cat is gold upon the brown tiles. The sun is less so, on this cloudy November afternoon. His fine hairs stand up as he sweeps his green gaze upon the less-green lawn. His white whiskers twitch, as he sits at my right foot.

That particular sitting-at-my-foot is not a sign of abasement, but a sign of possession. He thinks he owns my foot, or at least, significant access rights to it. If you look at my otherwise unremarkable (perhaps, slightly ugly) foot, you will see the pinprick scars of his ownership. When he feels like it, he latches onto my foot, his claws gently emplaced like barbed wire into the skin, daring me to move faster than he can bayonet me.

His thick tail whisks idly from side to side. For now, he is not indulging his plaintive wail, nor his hopeful meow. He needs no other company for now, for three of his claws are wrapped around the ball of my big toe. Occasionally, he gives me a sidelong glance.

I scratch him gently, massaging his spine with my fingertips. He yawns a little, half-closes his eyes. But he retains a single clawhold, as if to say, "I'll retract them all when you've done enough to earn your freedom."

I make my move. I dance out of the way. He looks at me, alert, betrayed, and lunges for the escaped foot. I keep a narrow half-inch ahead of him. He lunges for the other foot. I know him well enough to dance the other way.

A few more attempted swipes, and he stops. He sits, licks his paws the way cats do when they're sulking or thwarted. He studiously ignores me. So I walk away.

He flips over on his back, stretches. It means, "You've won, but I don't care." It also means, "Scratch me again when you have time?"

I grin at him and wave. When I next look back, from the side door, he is grooming himself as usual.

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