Sometimes when Zen wakes me up seven minutes before my alarm goes off, I forget. I forget this nineteen-year history between us and how she has always confounded me in these bleary early-morning moments. When she was younger, there was less yowling, but she still stalked the edges of my sleep, an unwary perimeter, desultorily guarding one side or the other. It has never been clear.
Zen isn’t an affectionate cat, or at least her “capricious” process tends to have priority over her “demonstrative” one.
But then on a rare occasion she yowls to be picked up and she snuggles me, proper snuggles with snout digging into my arm and purrs loud enough to jostle the fabric of my sweatshirt. And I think: okay, I get you.
Writing from: my snuggly study. Listening to: “Touch” by Holy Other.