I haven't quite been able to look Buzzy in the eye since Saturday night.
He knows something's wrong. In all honesty, he sensed it...or, more accurately, he smelled it. Literally. But he's playing it cool, not saying a word. He's waiting for me to speak the words. Confess.
I spent some time with another cat.
I couldn't help it. At first I figured that what Buzz Buzz didn't know, wouldn't hurt him. And it was only once, after all. I've always agreed with the advice columnists who suggest cheaters refrain from admitting a one-time indiscretion. Why wound someone permanently because of your own weakness? It's not going to happen again....right?
|Say it isn't so!|
But the truth has a way of rising to the top like scum on chicken soup before you've strained it and discarded the carcass.
First it might be a telltale whiff on the clothes-- a type of cat food not found at home is discerned by the perceptive feline nose. Perhaps Whiskas or Fancy Feast...
Maybe there's the hint of an unfamiliar, perhaps even prescription hairball medicine or a flea powder from another's Rubbermaid container of pet meds. With a nose as sensitive as Buzzy's, are there any secrets, really?
Then Seth says something casually as we prepare for bed. "Gee, wasn't Mr. Puff's fur soft?" he asks. I glare horribly, shushing him with a fierce look but it's too late. Buzzy's ears have swiveled in our direction, his kneading paws slow a bit on the comforter, he pauses to lick his foot. Then his balls.
Did he hear what Seth said? He's not letting on.
Climbing into bed, I can't help thinking about the other cat: his sleek coat, the little brush stroke of white on his nose, the stripes on his tail. But the thing about Mr. Puff that made him so difficult to resist was that he let me pick him up, remaining in my arms until I put him down.
|What did I hear?|
He's one of those cats who seems to have no spine. You can drape him on your shoulder, around your neck...you can do almost anything with Mr. Puff. And he knows the power that has.
Buzzy will allow himself to be held for only the briefest periods. After a moment or two of attempted cuddling, he will brace his foreleg against my collarbone and free himself with a mighty push, sitting on the floor afterward -- just out of reach -- to groom a gray foot or wash an ear so vigorously that he turns it inside out.
"Come here, Buzzy, let me fix your ear," I implore, wanting to trick him into another hug but he saunters to the litter box, instead.
I haven't decided whether I'm going to tell him about Mr. Puff. Nothing really happened...just a bit of tummy scratching, a little wearing Mr. Puff like a scarf for a while, is all. Do I need to burden Buzzy with my minor indiscretion or unburden myself with a full confession?
|This is an outrage.|
I'm not sure yet. I suspect I will tell him the truth because I know he will ultimately forgive me. We have something special, Buzzy and I. After all, who gives him the tips of the Costco shrimp after they've thawed or allows him to clean out the tuna can while I make salad?
And while pliant and soft, Mr. Puff isn't half the man Buzzy is. Who needs a cat I can wear when I have a cat who sits vigilantly by the computer while I write and shares my Greek yogurt as we watch Entertainment Tonight after supper.
I will never so much as look at another cat again.
It's me and Buzz Buzz 4-ever...but you knew that already.