Karen pours herself a cup of coffee, and says, “You were on the floor again when I came to bed last night,”
“My back is bad again. I can stay asleep for a couple hours before waking up and coming to bed, but even a couple hours pulls my disc in.”
“Sleeping on the floor would ruin my back.”
“I can only do it for a couple hours.”
“Sox was on your chest when I came into the room last night.”
“She does that every time I have to lay on the floor,” I said. “Do you remember how she used to sleep with Emily and Sandy? The three of them were on the one bed.”
“That dog was spread out across the whole bed,” Karen said, “and Emily was scrunched up into a corner.”
“Sox slept between them,” I said. “When Emily left for college, Sox became a denizen in Anne’s bedroom. She would lie in the chair while Anne did her homework and sleep with Anne on the bed.”
“That was hard on Anne’s allergies.”
“Sox needs that contact. With both girls in college, she’s coming to me, and on the nights I start off on the floor, she climbs on my chest; and when I wake up, she’s climbed down and is lieing next to me on the floor, leaning against my side. Maybe there’s something she likes about being next to a heart beat.”
“I think she likes the body heat.”
“Maybe, ” I said. “But she’s not aloof the way cats usually are. She’s more like a dog that needs to feel a connection. I think she has a dog’s spirit, like there was a mix-up, and a dog’s soul got put into a cat.”
“You think animals have souls?” Karen asked, adding cream to her coffee.
“Maybe,” I said. “And maybe they just have to share ours. Maybe that’s why Sox is always nearby.”
Across the room, lieing in the cat bed by the sliding glass door, Sox stretched and closed her eyes.