This morning, just as I was waking, I felt a tiny ripple from the corner of the bed which told me Minou had arrived. She came and sat by my head for a little while, then stepped onto my chest and began to make biscuits. She goes into a fugue state when she does this--it can last for a quarter of an hour. I hoped it wouldn't this time, because I needed to pee, and the pressure of her haunches shifting side to side in counterpoint to the rhythm of her front paws was uncomfortable. She stopped and settled into a modified sphinx pose on my chest, head lowered, paws curled beneath her. I wanted her to close her eyes. I pretended to close mine and watched from under my lashes as she relaxed. Somehow, slowly, less and less of the greengold showed in the frame of her black face, and when her eyes were completely shut I still could not remember exactly how they'd closed. It's something to watch--the eyes go from open to shut, and you never see it happening, although you're looking right at it.
So there she was asleep, or at least utterly relaxed, on my chest, all five pounds of her, and although I'd wanted to get up, I couldn't bear to do it. I laid there and thought of Muezza, Mohammad's cat, for whom he sacrificed the sleeve of his robe rather than wake her. Unlike Mohammad, I chose to wake Minou. I patted the side of the bed 'til she opened her eyes, and wiggled my fingers at her to coax her over. She obliged, received a good petting as reward, and I got up.
As I showered, Minou slipped in the door, which I leave cracked for her. She likes to shower, too, sometimes sitting on the edge of the tub while I am in it, sometimes waiting for me to finish. Minou's shower is like this: She sits and waits inscrutably. I am the only one who knows what she waits for. I cup water in my hands and run my wet hands over her body. As soon as I start doing this, she becomes animated--happy, I am convinced. She waits until I have completely wetted her down, and then passionately cleans herself. Sometimes she does so right where she sits. This morning, she left the bathroom to finish her toilet. But as I brushed my teeth, I felt two soft but matter-of-fact licks on my bare calf, as quick as the words--"more, please." So I filled my hands with water and she jumped up on the side of the sink, and I wetted her down again. She leapt down to the bathmat and began a vigorous cleaning, licking so hard her whole body rocked, her little ginkgo leaf of a tail raised for counterbalance. No scullery maid in a Victorian novel ever tackled a muddy hallway floor with as much determination. Since Minou can't reach her back, I think the water completes, in her mind, the cleaning of her small ferocious self.
That is what has happened this morning since I woke an hour ago.