Like many people who write for a living, I sit here alone at my computer much of the day and mutter.
Not to myself, mind you.
The cats, with their interrogative tails and their insistent meows, are always making demands disguised as questions.
When are you going to feed us? What’s that on the counter? Can we have it? Now? Are you going to try to stop us if we get on the counter? Why did you have to buy that stupid dog? Can’t you get rid of him? Are you going to feed us now? Are you eating something? Can we have it? Will you give it to us if we walk on your face?
They don’t wait for answers. They just keep asking. I answer. No. Later. You can’t have that. Leave the dog alone. Leave each other alone. Get out of the sink. We keep up this exchange until they fall asleep in little cat piles on the sofa cushions, or until I boot them into the basement and shut the door behind them.
Our conversation is not very satisfying, but at least it’s reliable.
With the dog, it’s more a series of polite requests and assurances.
Dog: If it’s not too much trouble, I’d sure like to go for a walk. Might you have time soon to go for a walk?
Me: Don’t worry, we’ll go soon. I just have to write this thing.
Okay, I can wait. Oh, there’s a scary cat. Can you please make the cat go away? Also, I love you. So much.
I love you, too. Go away cat.
Can we go for a walk now? I mean, if it sounds good to you, it sure sounds good to me!
Now? I love you.
It’s a sweet-but-tiring sort of conversation. The walk would be good for both of us. The cats are scary. But I don’t want to talk about it all the time. Can’t we talk about something new? Like, I’d really love to know more about what he can smell when we go for a hike, or his opinion about which route we take on the walk, or why the toaster used to scare him.
The goats and I have a different patter. Every morning, I greet them with a bright, “Good morning” and they stare at me from the pen. Then one or two bleat in greeting. I know it’s a question. Have you got any banana peels, or artichoke leaves, or grain?
Once I’ve answered that question, the conversation changes. Albus talks to me by sniffing my hand and my hair, then exhaling next to my face, then inhaling my breath. Lars stands close, shyly, bends his neck, silently presents his forehead for scratches. Willow nickers, asking if maybe I have an extra treat, then sloppily licks my nose, regardless of my answer. Westie stand away from the crowd, stares, and asks me with those gentle gold eyes to come to her, to rub her forehead.
And Wellesley. A week from her kidding date, Wellesley and I talk a lot. Her bleat sounds like she’s softly clearing her throat over and over. Ahem. Ahem. She has expectations. They include being served grain, then being served cuddles. She rubs my legs with her head the way a cat might. She makes satisfied little grunting sounds. Sounds of contentment. I reply in kind, with little bleats and grunts and sighs. I don’t know what either of us are saying, but I get the gist. I remember, long ago, that feeling of waiting, and expecting, and wanting a snack and some affection.
So we talk about that. And then we’re silent. And we wait.
This photo and post are in response to this week’s theme for the 52 Photos Project. You should participate, too! Read about how it works here. You can see a gallery of everyone’s photos for this week’s theme here. To see a list of all my blog posts for this project, go here.