The candle glowed in the darkness, the light from the flame flickered across the table and danced along the walls. Outside the gentle tapping of ice pellets played against the windowpane, drawing me into a deep hypnotic daze. My ears, which moments ago had been keenly alert had become accustomed to the sound and flopped over into their natural state.
A quick glance over my shoulder revealed the outline of a cat. Not just any cat, but an orange cat. My friend sat perched on the corner of the table staring out the window into the darkness, his eyes glazed over from straining to catch a glimpse of his newfound love, yet the gloom of the night had appeared to keep her away.
His eyes inclined to take in the moon, which had become shrouded by clouds and was only a dim shadow of its true self. A guttural moan issued past his lips, exposing the depths of his agony, and his heart-felt sorrow. Unable to sit with her under the silver shafts of light, crooning to the moon, the orange feline launched into a song of his own, the melody like that of a dirge. The notes rose and fell in such a manner that I was no longer able to bare the sadness in the story being told. I turned from the pitiful scene leaving the cat’s lament behind and fixing a course for the staircase and my companions on the next level.
In the office, I discovered a black and white cat, her appearance as though she were dressed in a finely made tuxedo. She took no notice of me, rather, she hunched over an open book, the words of which were illuminated by the soft glow of light emanating from a battery-operated candle, its light appearing to gleam and quiver in the darkness.
She wore a mask of concentration upon her visage, her gaze fixed upon the text in front of her. From time to time the cat would stop to ruminate on a passage, and I could see her face illuminate with joy at each new uncovered discovery. Even the manner in which the light would strike her eyes, setting the golden flecks within on fire lent her the air of a creature growing in knowledge and understanding.
For the briefest of moments, I would feel the exhilaration with her. I, who am but a simple dog and have not the passion to do such things as study. Whilst I looked on, I found myself entertaining the passing thought that perhaps I should take up reading. But alas, reality would settle in and thankfully I would come to my senses. After all, I am of that type of being who does, not one who thinks. Having settled my curiosity about my black and white friend, I forged onward across the hall to quench that desire in me to know what my grey and white cat sister was up to.
I stood in the doorway, taking stock of the room. Sitting upon a nightstand on either side of the bed stood a white candle each inside an ornate lantern, it’s faux flame dancing too and fro as if it were a living flame. Though the candles were fake, the light was real enough, pushing back the darkness that struggled to encroach and engulf the entire room.
The bed had been made, yet was mussed here and there, the result of three cats and a dog sleeping, talking and playing there, yet in this singular moment in time, it was occupied by a medium sized cat. The grey and white creature lay in the center of the mattress, curled tightly into a ball with her eyes closed. Her breath fell in a deep and relaxed rhythm despite the wind beating against the window and howling like monster trying to break through the window to get in.
Her face shifted slightly, her lips curled to form an almost imperceptible smile. It is difficult to image that one miniscule movement could spawn a chain reaction of events, yet this one did.
“What could she be dreaming about,” the thought formed then pinged around inside my head, much like the ball in an old game of pong. Slow at first, then building to a crescendo that could not be controlled.
I called her my friend, but she is my nemesis at the same time. The peculiar thing is that I know not why we are at odds. To be honest, I do not think she knows herself. It is like a thing that the universe set into motion and we ourselves are not capable of stopping it, yet at times we are able to resist its control, but only for the briefest of moments.
I digress. That dream. What could she be dreaming about that made her smile? I thought about it until my head was dizzy, then chose the only course of action that seemed right to me.
Slowly, I crept across the floor, climbing into the bed with as much stealth as I could muster. Somehow, I had managed to make it all the way up onto the mattress without disturbing her. Now to set my plan into motion.
I gently lowered myself next to her, wrapping my body around hers like a cocoon. Her body snuggled into mine as if it were an everyday occurrence instead of the first time, probably once in a lifetime event that it was. Still dreaming, she smiled then purred. The rumbling purr coming from her tiny body was all that I needed to lull me into a comfortable place. My eyes closed and I too drifted off into a deep mid-winter slumber.