… a ginger cat dreams of company in breath …

The woman used to sit in the deckchair with her sleek black friend on her lap, eyes closed, breathing in unison. She calls it meditation. I was jealous, what else.

I’m old and grumpy, a familiar sight. Small chance she wonders where I hang out when not visiting. Today she spotted me – a fluffy ginger ball dozing on a brick wall sheltered by ivy – not my regular spot. I prefer having my daily nap on a bench at the top. From that royal view downhill I keep half an eye on creature traffic, neighbour cats that shamelessly kill fledglings or lame birds, the stray dog or sly fox that slips through the hedge, reckless rodents … but it’s been drizzling all night and my favourite bench is soaking wet this morning.

I get no food here. However, she daily cleans and refills the ceramic bowl near the house with fresh water, just for me to slurp. In such moments we exchange glances, and she nods. What she doesn’t like is when I get too close to her little stone Buddha. Then she shakes her head or steps from the backdoor to clap her hands. I’ve seen her turn the water hose on cats with bad manners. She should know better, I’m not one of them, I have principles.

I bet she misses her companion, glossy and black as a moonless sky. She was gentle and tolerant of me, which is why I used to protect her from a nasty tom. Some years ago the woman dug a deep hole for her friend, near the compost heap. Not the most romantic spot to have one’s bones rest, but due ceremony was observed, which must count for love.

I wouldn’t impose myself. I wonder what attracts me to this human and her world. I’d love being invited in her house, as companion. Nowadays she often sits near the window, staring at some rectangular device like it’s the most fascinating sight in the world, the opening to a mystery, like a warren.

She keeps her distance, wary of attachments. I get it, of course; she doesn’t want her freedom restricted by caring for another cat. Her neighbours used to look after her pet during her absences. Now their health is fragile and can’t be relied upon. She objects to Kennels, rightly. I was put in one, long ago, confined in a cage, horrible.

I doubt she cares where I camp at night. Doesn’t know I endure the stoned torpor of Mr X, lost in a dark place. It’s not a home, the vibes upset me. But each morning I vocally rouse X from his hangovers to alert him to my dry meal. This must be my purpose – my insistence on my existence is how he tracks time, like noticing a new day. Alas, the filthy water bowl is only rarely topped, which is why I’m thankful that the woman got the message …  I’m always thirsty.

The image keeps returning, of her sitting in the garden with her black friend on her lap, eyes closed, breathing in unison. My thirst lives on. It may be complex and beyond measure, or awesomely simple, I don’t know, but company in breath seems the one simple thing of beauty most worth dreaming of.


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19 responses to “… a ginger cat dreams of company in breath …

  1. I love your story. So wise and deep; don’t we all seek friendship and love.
    In this case, both the woman and the cat.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this Ashen! Sad and nostalgic. You and Ruth are fingers pointing to alternative ways of writing for this stone stuck writer limited to angry comments on the Times, and masochistic tendencies to watch the news! I have just such a ginger visitor, less welcome than yours since she only comes to kill our birds!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here too … My alternatively annoying and amusing philosopher tried to butt in. I was tempted to share his (it’s a he) pearls of wisdom on Times, if only to get some peace. For now, Ginger touched on my melancholy about the world in general. Your Ginger seems to need the water hose.


  3. beautifully done – it’s given me a lump in my throat.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s quite strange when you begin to understand that animals and birds are constantly watching. There is a sense of liberation and friendship alike as our world is mirrored.
    Thanks Ashen.B


  5. ah enchanting … I was the ginger cat for a moment … or seeing the world through its eyes … thanks Ashen …

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re welcome, Susan. Glad the episode enchanted ☼


  7. Thank you for this lovely tribute to a loving cat who captures our heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was enchanted by the lovely story and the tribute to your beloved pet. Ginger was obviously jealous ;D

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m glad the story enchanted, Luciana ☼ Funny thing is I haven’t seen Ginger for a few days. Maybe Mr X listened in and has started to appreciate his pet.


  10. You write so beautifully…..

    Liked by 1 person

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