Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Dreams of My Dead (Rodentia)

Today tastes like white linen, caliche, and pine.

I dreamed of Rodentia last night.

I’m afraid I broke the cardinal rule—never tell your visitor they’re dead, or recall their death while dreaming. It’s unutterably rude. They broke the rules to come back and see you while your waking, rational mind is out of their way. The least you can do is meet them halfway and respect their efforts.

We were first in the vet’s office, and the vet was asking if she’d bitten anyone in the last two weeks. I found this funny in the dream for some reason, and thought, “Wait till I tell the Dinch about this one.” And then I remembered, and looked down at the table, and she looked back up at me with stricken eyes, and I woke up.

Woke up angry at myself for opening my big mouth, with a fleeting impression of Rodentia—all her fur grown back, at her healthy adult weight. Realizing that this was a dream, one of those precious dreams of the fallen. I apologized to her, whispering in the night that I meant it when I said she was welcome anytime, that I was willing to try again if she’d forgive me for taking that steaming dump on the dinner table.

So I slept again, and she was back.

We went places a cat would find interesting—to my folk’s house in Albuquerque with a wild front lawn that went on for acres, full of plants and birds. It smelled wonderful to my nose, green and wild and blooming. She sat on the front porch glider with me, and I stroked her fur.

Her fur was silky, like human hair, and I could run my fingers through it like my own, all the way from skin to tip without tangle or mat. She twisted about to groom herself, limber as a rubber band. It was clear grooming was about the pleasure of bending more than about arranging her fur. It gleamed with health.

She sat beside me in a way she never had in life, half on her side with her hips on the ground, half sitting up on her forelegs. “Hips,” she said, with gloating satisfaction, and I could see she was no longer in any pain from the arthritis that crabbed her walk up on tiptoe. She flowed like water again.

She held up a front paw, showing me her claws were back, needle-sharp and translucent white. Pearly like the moon in crescent. She caught a sparrow easily, plucking it from a plant like an ear of corn. Her teeth were strong and white. She offered me half, which I declined, and she shrugged and ate the whole thing herself, leaving a pair of angel wings on the path.

Then we were in Greer, sitting on the back deck of the cabin, watching the birds and squirrels and rabbits. Just sitting in the sun, with soft breezes blowing. She rolled on her back on the deck, showing me her belly fur—creamy off-white and shiny. No growth, no tumor, just healthy muscle and a small layer of fat. I stroked her ribs and belly the way she liked when she was in heat.

At the crest of the La Luz trail, there was a stone bench overlooking the city where we sat and watched the sun set. She hopped up next to me with a silver comb in her mouth. “Brush monkey,” she said, and I took the comb to her fur. No tangles, no mats, no bits of stuff to pull. Just strands parting easily under the teeth. We sat there, she and I, as I brushed her and brushed her and brushed her while the moon rose.

I woke with the most amazing sense of peace in my heart. Thank you, little cat. Come again anytime; you are always welcome.


Spike said...

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.

The hole they leave never really stops weeping.

My amazing pooch Baxter died recently after complications of an emergency surgery. He was only 9.

Your grief awakens mine and I weep again for my loss. But know that we were blessed for having them in our lives.

The only thing worse than the pain of the loss is to never have had them to loose.


dowager empress said...

Dinch's monkey expresses with exquisite tenderness. I was deeply moved. May I bring a memorial? Catmint, a perennial with small, lavender blossoms; or perhaps, less modestly, a lilac beginner, grand-daughter to a sturdy shrub from a beloved yard in the Four Corners part of the world.

fillyjonk said...

I'm so sorry to hear it.

I still dream about Patty, my parents' cat who passed last year. I'm almost embarrassed to admit how recently I woke up crying (when I realized it was just a dream and she was still gone).

Strangely, I am more prone to dream of animal friends who have passed than I am of human friends or relatives. Maybe because they could not speak to me in life, and the humans could?