This is Merryweather. She likes to hibernate at least an hour and a half every forty-five minutes or so, between dinner and half past snack time. Since Pixie died, Merryweather has been trying to take the place of Lead Cat. There are certain responsibilities to which the Lead Cat must attend.
Pixie always handled these responsibilities as though she were born for them. Time to eat? She walks to the stair landing and hollers with such ferocity the bulldog cowers and I go running to distribute. Time to go to bed? Shape up or ship out, mortal! Pixie gets on the bed and stomps around until I pull the covers up around her, promising never to let her get a chill again.
These are petty details when one considers the larger picture of being the Lead Cat. Pixie sits at home when I am out, either working or on a social call, and she meditates on my safety like a holy bodhisattva. All the while I’m out, Pixie is working her sizable will summoning me safely home, just in time for her post-midnight snack. Since Pixie’s death I have worried about straining Merryweather’s newfound position. Her Lead Cat powers are still in their infancy, she’s only ever been second in command.
A week or so before Thanksgiving, I am on my way home from yoga when I think of Christmas. I don’t just think of Christmas, but of that damn Christmas tree. The electric blue one with blue lights that reminds me of Pixie. The tree skirt is a very witchy (okay, not so Christmassy) black with silver stars. I just adorn this blue tree with one ornament, a silly pink feathered bird. I think of that tree under my bed and it just breaks my heart.
I go directly to Target and buy a new tree because I cannot pull that other tree out of its box, I don’t want to unfold that tree skirt Pixie slept on this time last year. I want a new tree, one for Merryweather and me to put up together. So she can continue to practice being Lead Cat.
So here is Merryweather with our small little tree I bought just for us. Tentatively she helps to unfold the branches, but she lets me handle the lights. She is taking to this decorating business very well. Maybe Merryweather was born to be a Lead Cat, too.
Perhaps the most important domain of the Lead Cat is Head Sleeping. I think this somehow caps the crown chakra, keeping all hands on deck while I sleep. This way no sacred and perhaps irretrievable energy can leak out of my head while I’m sleeping and dreaming of being in a tango club at the mall (says the report from REM last Monday morning around five-thirty). This is what Pixie did best, besides waking me up with happy chirps before bemoaning her lot in life as my Lead Cat.
Today, my little sister came over to get on the computer. She woke me up enough to say hello and turn the machine on. I promptly go back to sleep because Brittany is one of those awful early risers and I most certainly am not. She didn’t have the decency to make coffee, so I didn’t have the decency to get out of bed.
“Where’s your camera?” She asks, quietly, so as to wake me up but not really.
“Closet. Purple make-up bag.” I go in and out of sleep, the flash on my prone form not really causing an alarm as I dream all manner of dreamy things. I feel a warm rumbling rumbler on my head as I whisper sleepy things to the people in my dreams.
Even as Brittany only came over to use the computer, she teasingly and perhaps accidentally snapped a photo that proves Merryweather’s official graduation from second in command to Lead Cat. After putting up the Christmas tree and learning how to demand cat candy for herself, even after having slept on my hip for twelve years, it seems Merryweather is my new crown.