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Sammy the Cat, Love, and Memories that Live in the Body

This is Sammy the Cat. He’s a wonderful cat who lives at the house I’m lucky to stay at for my time in Portland.

He’s been courting me now, for a few nights. Coming up late at night, mewing adorably, rolling onto his back for belly rubs. So far, for some reason that wasn’t totally explained by my cat allergies, I’ve resisted.

I spent the evening tonight at a friend’s whose power happened to be out. We sat, ate pizza, drank wine, and talked next to a crackling fire. It was one of those evenings that reacquainted me with the things that make us feel human.

Then back home to my room, and a visit from Sammy.

Tonight, I gave in, digging in with both hands in the way that all animals love me for. I understand them, their bodies, my fingers moving without my mind, naturally finding those right spots.

Sammy was happy, and it was a lovely experience, but I felt tension all through my body, the same resistance that had stopped me the days before. A few minutes in, my mind finally made sense of what it was.

The last thing I touched with tenderness was my dog, just before he died.

It’s been six months and eleven cities and a lifetime of experiences have flitted by. But not one has come through my fingertips. Not one through the space where we, living things, are able to reach beyond ourselves and into one another, to understand, soothe, and communicate without any language.

To speak in the way we’ve understood for millions of years - well before we moved from apes to hominids. A communication that bridges dog and cat and human, all of us understanding it the same. The common currency of life on Earth.

Touch.

Nah, I hate curiousity.