I am sitting at my desk, trying to do two things at once. He is standing on my desk, carefully positioned between me and my chosen task.
I push him away. He climbs onto my shoulder.
I put him on the couch. He walks across my keyboard.
I put him on the floor. He pushes the piles on my desk until they topple over.
He rubs his face on my legs, my arms, my hands. I shoo him away, intent on crossing one more thing off my to-do list. He settles on the back of the couch, watches me from across the room.
I look at him.
He looks at me.
I lie down on the couch and drum my fingers. Our signal. He stretches, his tailing twitching in anticipation, and drops lightly into my chest. He crouches for a moment, poised for flight. Shifts his weight. Settles in. He stares at me with his yellow, serpentine eyes. He’s a clever boy, and he knows he’s won.
I rub the space between his ears with one hand and stroke his back softly with the other. If I don’t press too hard, it’s easier to pretend I can’t feel his vertebrae and hipbones pressing back. I stroke his cheeks with the backs of my fingers. Brush lightly at his whiskers. He stretches his nose toward my face and closes his eyes blissfully. I watch his ears flicker at the sounds of the room and feel the warmth of the shared body heat growing between us.
He begins to purr, his whole body rumbling like an old pick-up truck. The curve of his back rises and falls with each breath.
I try to memorize his triangular face. The stripes on his forehead. His broad nose. Line of his mouth as he smiles his secret smile. I soak in this moment. I bask in it. I feel the rhythm of our hearts beating so close together, and I store each tiny detail away so that I will have them to lay over the horrible memories I know are coming.
The decline. The decision. The goodbye.
Those aren’t the things I want to remember. I want to remember the way he stood in front of my computer screen and demanded that I notice him. The way he refused to take no for an answer. The way he pulled me from inside my own head and forced me to focus on what was important. I want to remember my clever boy when he was still winning.
[We said our final goodbyes to Bonsai on Friday, Mar 25, 2016. He fought valiantly. Now he rests.]