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> The Cat Lover
> The Terrain of
   Madame Blavatsky
The Cat Lover

     When a door opens and you can't see who's coming, it's almost always a cat who would like to be your lover. All cats are small, so the opening door looks like an accident. It's not an accident, though. These cats take great care until one paw hooks and the door swings open.

     When the door opens, the cat sits at a distance. This is the distance of masked balls, 18th-century calling cards--once known by humans, never forgotten by cats. You see its slanted eyes. You see its elegant face.  The cat stares at you in all its wildness and comes to rest upon your heart.

      Last night my cat lover woke me from a dream where I'd been looking for someone who wouldn't come to find me. This was someone I'd known years ago, and I was searching narrow streets of an unfamiliar city. When the cat woke me, I realized the entire family had gone to bed in chaos: My son was asleep in front of the television, my husband on the living room couch, my daughter in my son's room, and me in my study wearing all my clothes—soft velvet clothes, something I do when I hope there will be no night. It was three a.m. and there was a unplanned feeling to the house, as though all of us, in order to sleep, had entered different zones and the house itself hadn't been allowed t dream. The cat purred on my chest, but I shook him off and went downstairs to cover my son. Then I wandered to the kitchen and ate lemon ice that reminded me of a place in France where summers were so hot, ices dissolved as soon as they hit the street. I had to stay in the store to eat them. I never knew what they looked like.
       While I ate, it occurred to me that nothing has skin--neither me, my children, nor my husband. Falling into his body was just something I did over fourteen years ago because light bound us together like gold. I finished the ice and my cat lover visited again: The approach, the encounter, the looming, and then he rested against my body.  His fur and my soft velvet dress felt the same--dark, pillowy textures, things  to love and dream in. I felt his small wild heart beat against my chest.