Monday, July 24, 2017

This is the little game we play: 

She waits by the top of the basement stairs for me. I approach her cautiously from the other side of the planet. She growls lowly like a power drill without enough torque. I casually creep closer without making eye contact, as though all of my interest lies with a random sock that fell out of the laundry pile near her. She amps up her growling to sound more like a Kitchen Aid mixer struggling with its dough hook and a particularly hearty bread recipe. I make eye contact. She makes eye contact. I slowly, s l o w l y, begin the process of maybe kind of thinking about someday possibly squatting in her general vicinity to facilitate the hypothetical scratching of her ears. She shifts her growling into third gear, this time sounding like a vacuum with a strip of raffia stuck in its roller during post-Christmas clean-up. I get brutally murdered by a suspiciously nearby surgeon who promptly disarticulates my arms, rendering me profoundly incapable of living, breathing or furry-ear scratching. She shifts into overdrive, sounding almost exactly like the steamroller that all-too-conveniently appears from behind the aforementioned laundry sock to crush my disarticulated remains flatter than the the aforementioned bread, which, in my selfish hurry to pet her, I completely forgot to do the part where you fold in the yeast and let the dough rise for three hours. I softly sing "Nothing's gonna harm you. Not while I'm around," which, through the restorative power of show tunes, revives me and rearticulates my arms. She rolls onto her back and does that adorable Fosse thing with her front paws (pictured here), all of which is the international symbol for "I trust you and I unconditionally love you so I'm showing you my vulnerable underbelly in the expectation you'll stop what you're doing and come rub it nonstop until President Hillary rightfully takes office." I, blithely trusting her yet again, reach out tenderly, gingerly and gratefully to overcome my crippling yet understandable trust issues and finally - FINALLY - rub her soft, furry tummy in servile gratitude. She draws me in with her calculating eyes and her deceitful body language. I, emotionally scarred and spiritually broken by years of this unceasing abuse, finally - FINALLY - make finger-to-tip-of-tummy-fur contact, tears of grateful joy and social acceptance streaming down my face like healing waters spilling forth from the nose of a centuries-old Madonna statue in an Italian grotto. She, once again reaching the triumphant climax of our emotional Grand Guignol, rolls away from me, hisses like a steam brake struggling to stop a runaway train, waddles maybe three feet away, plops her geriatric belly firmly on the carpet, softens her hate-filled eyes to a dewy, inviting semblance of friendship and love, and meows plaintively as though to invite me closer to pet her. I approach her cautiously from the other side of the planet ...

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