They're not really invaders...
Okay, so that's a lie. You're right. I hear you. They are invaders, colonizing your territory. I know you feel usurped — but sweetie, there's room for all. I promise.
Instead, you stormed out, and didn't return when I called.
I called you gently, with all the love that I could muster. You stayed away. I tried to go back to sleep in our overfull bed, but still I panicked.
"He's on his rounds," she said. So don't despair. "He's always out this time of night," she said. But I couldn't hear her.
"I'm a bad mommy," I intoned, and she cooed in my ear. She gave me one rational reason after another why this was okay.
"He's doing better," she said. She told me you're adjusting. She listed instance after instance of how much better it has gotten. But I panicked anyway, and went downstairs and called you again.
"You're never in bed this early," she said reasonably. She's so reasonable! And I know she's right. I panicked anyway. Went down a third time, and called you yet again —
I'd left treats for you, and now they're gone. So I knew that you'd been by and I should feel less guilty. I added more treats to your bowl — and suddenly you appeared. My panic lessened.
Vladdie, I know it's crowded and our routine's disrupted. You're not there waiting patiently when I climb into bed. You're not there as I adjust the pillows, put on my glasses, and open up my nighttime book. You don't curl into my arms. You don't start purring. You're not licking me incessantly. I'm not nuzzling your sweet smelling fur. I just can't stand it.
On the other hand, well yah, we've not been reading.
"It's getting better," she said, and I know she right, and means it.
Last night I saw you sniff the big brown loopy lab and not hiss or scratch. She takes up so much room. She's hard to maneuver. She wants to be exactly in your spot —luxuriating— as we all four adjust. You've got to teach her what her place is, darling. No one else can do it. You've got to excuse her clumsy ways. Forgive her youth. She is a bouncy nuisance, but yes, she's getting better.
Vlad, you scared me with your absence. With your refusal to heed my call. I stood at our back threshold and called into the breeze, the ferns and the trees. You weren't along your usual fence. You weren't prowling or patrolling the perimeters of our yard. You have your secret life, I know, and I forgive you. It's what you felines do when you are free.
"This is why I couldn't ever let mine go outdoors," she said, and I know she's right and means it.
But how could I restrict your joyous romp? You fairly sprint up the pine, the yucca, and the backyard fences. You perch on posts and keep potential invaders all at bay. You wait at our neighbor's door expecting entry and good scratches. How can I explain that they've moved, and that your buddy their parrot's gone as well? I hear you cry — it breaks my heart. How can I change things? Or bring things back to normal? How can I tell you it will soon be all okay?
Time heals, they say, I know they're right —
Ah, suddenly here you are —at last— looking all smug and happy. It's 2:30 AM, and that's not bad. She was right to say we'd just gone to bed too early. You're sound, you're fine, you're back, and you're not mad.
Sweet kitty, how I love you, how I've missed you. It's been a whole two hours you've been gone. I guess it's just this guilt that I've been feeling. But here you are accepting treats, and curling up upon our pillows. And you look fine, and everything's okay. And I know I'll go through this hell again tomorrow. Until you reclaim your priority, and push that loopy labrador away.