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I’m In Love With A Wonderful Guy

August 24, 2010

What has happened to me? I used to be a dignified, self-respecting member of the community, and now look at me. Just a pussy. Err…lover.

I don’t know if Shelley is jealous of our cat Romeo, but she should be. I go to bed — I see him when I close my eyes. I wake up and I know he’ll soon greet me.

And there’s the uncanny awakening he’s given me: What the hell was this living room before Romeo adopted us? It was full of furniture and books and it was dead before he got here and I never knew it. Now he is the living in the room.

I never knew what I was missing.

And there’s a problem, because I thought I’d be like the people who told me, “Oh yes I was allergic but then after a week my body adjusted and I was fine.” Well, my body hasn’t adjusted. Every few days I start itching, tearing, sneezing and wheezing, and I start wondering if it’s worth it. Then he strolls into the kitchen and leaps for my hand and falls over backwards and I have my answer. This week, we spent $520 on air purifiers. If that doesn’t work, it’ll be allergy shots for me.  

I imagine if you’re not a cat-person, you’re rolling your eyes about now, and if you are, you know all about it. So yeah, I’m embarrassed to be gushing about my cat.  But I haven’t had a real pet in about 50 years, until I decided to throw caution to the wind and get one for Shelley. (Except of course for our chinchilla Dusty who is, after all, a rodent, and for all his domestication, is still little more than a chewing and pooing machine. God help me, sometimes I see him as a glove.) 

Actually, we thought we had to remove Dusty to our bedroom, where Romeo is still not allowed. I feared that Dusty would feel threatened by Romeo reaching into his cage and bite half his paw off. Dusty’s scurrying about makes him a target for Romeo’s fascination with anything that moves. But Romeo hasn’t been bitten (yet) and lately when I enter the living room in the morning, he’s lying asleep on top of the cage. It can’t be very comfortable, but it’s like he’s lonely and being close to Dusty brings him comfort. He still is, as Shelley reminds me, a baby.

Actually he’s more like a rambunctious little boy, both wild and tender. He learns what we don’t want him to do so he can do it. (I appreciate the reader who wrote, “You’ll soon find that you are a guest in his house”.)  For instance, he’s barred from the bedroom — so of course he waits for the door to open, scooting in (every day a bit faster) and heading right for under the big lounge chair where he knows we can’t get at him. Actually, he’s just like I was as a kid: as adorable as he is impossible.

It scares me – how much I’ve fallen and how fast. It jars me a bit to know how susceptible I am to being seduced by, and feeling so connected to such a creature. But when he awoke this morning he greeted me with more than his usual stretch-and-purr, there on top of Dusty’s cage – he reached for my face and stroked it gently, and then pushed his cheek right into mine. Oh Romeo, you’re no good for me (I have to go wash my face now) but I am helpless to resist you. At night, after a day of killing 1700 imaginary mice and birds, the little monster jumps up onto my lap like he belongs there and turns upside down as if to say, “You may scratch me now” and then, when he’s had enough of that, he climbs onto my chest and snoozes, still purring, close to my heart.

How could we have named him anything else?

And he’s patiently trying to teach me a few things: How play can be enough. How to be open to receiving love. How to run through dinner; how to chase a little tail.

Honestly, I never imagined joy could come into my life this way. I did this to give my wife an anniversary gift, but I feel like I’m the one who received it.  



5 Comments leave one →
  1. Laurie permalink
    August 24, 2010 1:16 pm

    It’s a thrill to read about how smitten you are, Charley – and the pictures are wonderful!!!!

    My mornings usually begin with a rubbing Alex’s belly and a smooching session. When I’ve had enough, he too, uses his paw to turn my face toward him for more smooching. He has never once scratched my cheek by doing so (and his claws have never been trimmed). (pooches and pussycats have more in common than commonly thought!)

  2. Dave Abramowitz permalink
    August 25, 2010 4:20 am

    Charley, I was touched by your piece and showed it to my friend, Hillary, who also loves cats. When she saw the photos of Romeo, O, how she broke into tears, and I could not stop her, for some minutes, from sobbing. Finally, she blurted out, “It’s him! It’s him, my cat, Smoochie.” Shocked, I assured she must be mistaken, but she took out her wallet and there could be no doubt. Every marking, so distinctive, was identical. Alas, you have her long-lost cat, and, knowing you to be a very decent man, Hillary and I will be calling on you and Shelley to return her beloved cat, her baby, to her, so that you can make her and her husband and three little children happy again. Isn’t it a miracle that was her lost cat you found in that shelter.

    • August 26, 2010 5:42 am

      Thank you for your note. I’ll be glad for you to come over and take Romeo from us…over my dead body.


  3. Dave Abramowitz permalink
    August 25, 2010 2:36 pm

    So, that’s how it is, is it?!
    You’re telling us we can’t collect their Smoochie? Well, she told me to tell you that you have broken their six year old son’s heart, and turned a brave little boy’s smiles to copious tears.

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