She tries not to wake me, yet somehow I hear her as she enters the room. Trying not to move, I glance at the clock to see the time. “Dammit,” I think to myself, “She’s coming to bed at 6am?!?” She pauses at the foot of my bed, checking to see if I’m awake. I lay completely still, and after a few moments of silence, she slowly crawls into bed, treading carefully and making no sound at all. Again, she pauses, probably to decide the most comfortable position to sleep. She settles for snuggling under my arm and placing her head gently on my shoulder. She breathes softly, and part of me knows that if I stay silent any longer she’ll be fast asleep within seconds. However, the other part of me was much too annoyed at being woken up so early, so I turn and face her.
As soon as she senses my movement, she jerks her head up and looks at me, guiltily. I look straight at her, my face a mask of disapproval as I channel all the annoyance of being woken up by her into my expression. She looks right back, impassive, yawns a little, and says –
“Dammit Speedy, it’s six am! Go sleep in ma’s bed!”
I can see her black tail whisk in the semi-darkness; she’s glad I’m awake. I make a bit of space for her and offer a bit of the sheet, and she curls up in it within seconds, purring all the while. Mom hates when I let her sleep up near the top of the bed – something about cat fur causing asthma. But what can I do if we have a cat that’s so pampered she sleeps with her head on the pillow?!
We’ve had Speedy for 8 years now. We got her with her mother, Erica, who was a pure bred Persian. Sadly, Erica passed away a few months ago at the young age of nine, leaving Speedy a somewhat muted and lonely cat.
I was never much of a person for pets. It always seemed like something that only looked good on TV but not in real life, a bit like every exercise machine in the market. The idea of a person bonding and forming a human-like relationship with an animal seemed too Disney to be true. I know it sounds terribly irrational, but then again, growing up I didn’t have any friends that had pets, so I suppose it was an understandable misconception.
What exactly qualifies an animal to be a pet? Sure we have cats and dogs, and the odd Chihuahua, but is that it? Apparently when I was 6 years old, my parents gifted me a parrot. I ignored that bird so much, that out of sheer desperation it took to daily working on the bars of its cage with its beak, until finally, in true “Great Escape” style, it literally flew the coop one evening when no one was watching. I didn’t miss it at all – it was a bird that kept squawking, how could I miss it?! I also know a person that kept snakes as pets. And I don’t mean in cages, I mean me-casa-es-su-casa-slither-all-over-the-place pets.
When I was in India this time, someone I knew was planning on gifting a golden retriever puppy to his girlfriend for her birthday. Till the big day though, he was going to keep the pup at our place. She was only 6 weeks old, and she was the most hyper-active thing I’ve ever seen! She’d run around like mad for about 45 minutes, then suddenly stop dead in her tracks, pause for a second, and collapse in sleep. However, the poop that was appearing everywhere prevented me from really considering her more than an over-done birthday present (seriously, gifting a puppy to a girlfriend is the equivalent of giving her the keys to your apartment - and that can lead to this!). Either way, that all changed one night when she woke me up at around 3am. She was crying and yelping and as much as I tried to ignore it I couldn’t go back to sleep. So I trudged to the hall blindly, and I soon as she saw me she came running, barked a bit, ran around me, and promptly flopped on my feet. Before my sleep-numbed brain could process anything, she had passed out.
So there I stood, for about ten to fifteen minutes while this ball of fur slept peacefully on my feet, and – believe it or not – my heart melted.
Perhaps that’s why we have pets. Many of us can attest to the fact that the world forces us to numb ourselves to almost all emotion, because today’s generation has been taught that the only way to get ahead and be successful is to be cold blooded and ruthless. And in such a world as this, perhaps it’s heartening for us to come back home to a ‘person’ that is unbiased, fair and honest. Perhaps, just once in a while, it’s alright for our hearts to ‘melt’.
HOWEVER – fish are by far the most ludicrous and bizarre ‘pets’ a person can have. By far. Fish are for fish fry, nothing else.