Unsilent night

After scooping up, the twelve-pound cat nestles quiet, quiescent, in the crook of my left arm. After twenty minutes of fussing, complaining, plaintive mewing, and other guerrilla tactics that amount to nothing more than human harassment, he has finally gotten what he wanted.

I can't reach the keyboard, but from the pillow of my shoulder, the two red-gold eyes flutter closed. The paws lying limp at the base of my neck shift and begin to gently knead my chest. His eyes and tail droop in unison, until he is a limp, nearly-sleeping cat being cuddled with his belly and back feet pointing toward the ceiling. His paw pads are pink, silken. The fine, soft individual tufts of white fur between them flow and bend in the gentle currents of air.

One of the many silver-skinned jets that patrol the skies of Huntsville has borrowed Jeff for the night, leaving me here to potter around the house in bare feet, talking to the cats more than usual and cooking a dinner that only I like. I served up my artichoke to an audience of none in the reading room. With one hand I picked off leaves, bringing them to my mouth for a scraping while carefully turning the pages of my latest read with the other.

The warble of neighborhood children heading to the softball complex accompanied the second (and last) course of the dinner, a lovely dish of Thai noodles topped with peanut sauce. After eating the noodles, I swiped my finger around in the bowl to collect the last of the sauce.

Five ingredients for peanut sauce; simpler than real food. Crushed red pepper, fish sauce, coconut milk, peanut butter, and the zest and juice of one lime. Stir until saucy. Swipe finger through mixture, taste, correct seasonings, allow to sit. Crushed red peppers need a little while to make their presence known through the richness of peanut butter and coconut milk.

Strange, having no one in the house to talk to. To the casual observer, Jeff and I lead very separate and individualistic lives, but a more careful observer would notice how our interests and choices braid upon each other. Even our non-intersecting leisure activities are connected by hallways, by rooms, by the doorways we stand inside and the couches we sit upon while we talk with each other.

I have done many of the same things I do on any other night, but I watched television while perched on his portion of the couch, not mine. The cats have prowled the house, looking - unsure of the nature of the difference but equally certain of its existence. I played music louder than usual, just to hear it bounce off the walls and reflect back at me without fear of disturbing the other set of ears that live here.

We live in a house of companionable silence, he and I; take away the companion and the silences do not change, but my perceptions of them do.


you like artichokes, too! do you dip them? in what? yum.

Damnit, no exact ingredients for the peanut sauce, or is it more of a "throw stuff in till it looks right" type of thang?