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7 a.m.

James reflects on a ‘more than upsetting morning’.

Who knew that hurt and pain could be so tiring?

He watches me with shiny golden eyes, poised with perfect balance, head cocked to one side, listening as I scrub.  He’s not sure what to do next, his uncertainty given away by the slow swishing and twitching of his tail from side to side.  Front paws resting on the side of the mattress, back legs still on the floor, he looks down at what I am doing, and then back up to meet my pained smile.  He doesn’t say anything; if he is confused right now, no trademark enquiring mewl reveals this.

The jury of anthropomorphism is very much sceptical about how much he understands about human emotion.  True enough, he does not know what the tears mean, or about the fleeting grotesque irony passing through my brain of using baby wipes to clean, or what that other distinct noise is coming from the bathroom, barely audible over the solemn wail of the shower.  But yet, he is here anyway, and he can ease grief for a short while through nothing more than his simple presence, as any friend can.

The water stops, and I finish.  She returns to the bedroom through the hallway and we embrace before replacing the sheet.  We look at the bed.  Who knew that hurt and pain could be so tiring?  As I move to switch the light off again, his head darts up, following my hand.  He looks back at me, his furry face as black as the empty hole in the ultrasound.

It’s 7 a.m.

He cannot judge, yet his persistent, almost incredulous gaze seems to ask: you’re not going back to bed, are you?

Yes, sweet pussycat; we are.  We are.

James Haslett