Figure of Seven

by Erika Byrne-Ludwig



It must be the whiskers or the eyes or the ears or the entire cat that's made of willful determination.

I ask her not to use my chair but she insists. I place a book on it to make it knobbly. She sits on it.

Finely boned, long-haired, white beanie ...

I put her down and add a second book. She jumps up, claiming her rights, ignoring mine.

The temerity!

I look out into the wet day and happen to see a rainbow. Yes, seven should do the trick.

So I make a pile of seven books. Ooooh! A tower ... her eyes almost burst out ... before she clambers and settles onto the top very much like in the tale of the Princess and the Pea.

A truly defiant animal.

Fights can only last a short time. After that somebody has to give in. So I do. So many battles lost. Cats' perversely unyielding nature makes one's insistence pointless.

Whim fulfilled, fastidious grooming complete, she curls up, demands peace. Her slits say so.

I look at the faintly waving racoony crescent. Her tiny bird mind now calm. I nod: what an impenetrable presence ... Seven years of her life shared with me ... I know most, I think, of her crafty tricks, from her pricked up ears to her flickering tail. Many of her requests appear in her eyes. Her mouth of course knows the various tunes. Some of her wilder thoughts are hidden behind those enigmatic pupils I face from dawn to dusk. We both keep our secrets from each other, her feline ones, my human ones.

As usual, I mellow: my voice becomes downy like her chest,  with her pads' pinkish sweetness. In the ambient air of September mists, with Sunday evening adding its final touches to the week, I wistfully let my thoughts wander and my feelings speak.