June 27th, 2009

I Want You Back

I'm realizing now what an important part of my daily life Thing Two had become over the past year. After making the move he'd long desired from indoor-only cat to one allowed to roam freely for much of the day and evening, I took on the role of his designated caretaker. But he also served as mine, in a way. When I was alone at night in the front room, feeling down, I could always go visit him in the garage or bring him into my office for belly rubs. Frequently, I wrote with him by my side or sprawled across the edges of my laptop. I don't want to sound too New Age here, but I think he did serve as a sort of muse.

Animal companionship is especially helpful when one is engaged in a solitary pursuit like writing. I imagine that the traditional link between witches and their feline familiars has its origins in the realization that creativity comes easier with cats. Anyway, what I really wanted to say is that I'm feeling pretty upset. The Michael Jackson coverage has heightened my fixation on loss, but I was having a terrible time staying asleep all week. I just realized that I'm writing this entry on the one-week anniversary of my vigil, when I lay in the sofa hoping he'd come home and kept getting up to call him every fifteen minutes or so. The song "I Want You Back" is on auto-repeat in my head right now. But though I understand Jackson's cultural significance and want to show the proper respect for the dead, it's Two that I'm thinking about when they come to the chorus. And you, too, I confess.