If I had been a cat, I would have been Sophie.
If she had been a human, she would have been me.
That's just how it was.
Sophie Kept an Eye on Things, Especially Me
A friend said petting Sophie was “like petting a cloud”, and with all her lovely soft fur she was my tactile cat; many is the time when Sophie heaped herself into a mound of fur on my lap and I dug my hands into her fur like a ball of bread dough, kneading and pulling while I thought deeply, with only a slit-eyed glance and a slight noise in my direction from her, but never any complaints. In fact, she never complained about much of anything, but fervently expressed her happiness and love in her own unique ways.
My Big Girl. My Pretty Sophie.
November 30, 2006
Who will sing along with me when I’m in the mood for musicals?
Who will bring me little gifts of socks and washrags and hair scunchies with much fanfare?
Who will answer my phone when I’m not here?
Whose comforting weight will nestle onto me and purr me to sleep?
And who will awaken me by incessantly licking my face?
Into whose luxurious fur will I bury my fingers and knead when I’m trying to puzzle out a difficult design?
And who will try to lick my hands while I’m typing, and at any other opportunity?
Who will watch me leave the house?
Will anyone else appear at the window, relieved that I’ve returned?
When I walk into a room, no one greets me with a little trill, even from under the bed.
Absolutely no one is interested in watching the dishwater go down the drain.
No one is yet patrolling the doors to make sure the neighborhood is as it should be.
As I walk around the house sixteen years of Sophie greet me, and all the greetings are happy,
remembered in Sophie’s extended and complex vocabulary.
I will miss that big, gentle presence and the quiet, loving ways of the cat who approached me one night at a lonely ATM machine.
My Housewarming Cat
I really did meet her at an ATM machine. I closed on my house on October 19, 1990, took the next week to get things together, then the week after that to actually move inwith my household of six cats, no Sophie yet.
I returned to work in early November. and after work on my first day back, at about 9:00 p.m., I decided to stop at a drive-through ATM to deposit a small housewarming gift I had received in the form of a check. The bank was in a large strip mall near the interstate, and there were no houses within a mile of the place. Yet, when I pulled up to the drive through and rolled down my window, I heard a cat meowing over the sound of my engine running and car radio echoing under the cover of the drive-through roof. I was finding stray cats at the rate of about one per month in those days, and told myself that I heard cats everywhere I went, and tried to ignore it. I put my card in the machine and heard the meowing again.
I looked out into the darkness past the edge of the drive-through, and there she was, behind a thin screen of shrubs, pacing back and forth in the dirt, the white of her fur glowing in the bright lights of the drive-through. Sophie was a fairly large cat, and even though I found that she was still a juvenile at that time, she looked as large as an adult.
I got out of the car and left the window down, the engine running, the door open, and my card in the machine, afraid that if I waited one extra second the cat would run away toward the interstate. I slowly walked over to the shrubs and she paced and meowed and ran off and back, but was only playing hard to get. She fell for the hand-which-might-contain-food trick, and I picked her up and held her tightly.
I got back in my car, shut the door and closed the window, then turned around and put her in the back seat. I had no carrier in the car because I'd been moving and taken out all the extra things. I had had a few experiences with strays who went berserk when the car started to move, but decided I would take my chances and hope she wouldn't rip out any of my hair when the car started to move. The ATM machine had quit dinging, and I realized that I had lost my ATM card. Too bad, the cat was more important.
As I pulled out, I saw her jump into the passenger seat and look at me, then step toward me. But she wasn't threatening, and only got onto my lap, put her paws on my chest, and licked my chin. Then she got up onto my arms as I was steering and licked the rest of my face. It was darned diffcult driving under those conditions, but it was late enough that there was little traffic. I took a back road to my new house with my housewarming cat.
She was beautiful, but sometimes she just looked like a used dishrag. But she was very happy.
And she showed up in the most interesting places.
And she'll continue to provide inspiration.