Sitting at home, alone on the couch, With a faux fur throw for warmth, in peaceful contemplation… then the cat jumps up beside me! Longhaired and sooty, Miss Fifibelle is waiting for my attention dribbling, paws pumping… We can sit like this for hours once she settles She found a palace and a slave, she seems to know, and we commune in mutual contentment… She looks out the window, suddenly alert. Danger? The Rottweiler from next door? A bird swinging in the glory vine? We’re safe I say, safe inside, and she stretches out alongside my leg. I reach across for the remote. And she’s off again; with a scratch and flick of the tail. I pat the blanket: She looks away, distant, feigning disinterest. Blackest of black cats, how wicked you are! She disappears along the hall, scratches her claws on the mat… I hear a rush of noise, it’s the mat she’s wrestling, A furious battle between her and wool, then her footsteps up the stairs at speed and zooming down again. A victory lap! Her enemy is dead. And she’s back! A lick, a scratch, and a look that says Well, aren’t you going to ask me up? I pat the seat. She leaps up, paws stomping, dribbling on my leg. Stop that I snap and push her over softly, and she’s purring madly. Have you wrecked the carpet with your claws, Miss Belle? In ancient Egypt cats were venerated, sacred, which she hasn’t forgotten. Looking at her now deep asleep, curled up like a cushion, it’s hard to believe that cats con humans to get exactly what they want when they want it, even if on occasion, it requires spilling blood!
Miss Fifibelle is a rescue cat. She was very jealous of Billy Boo Boo also a rescue cat who has gone to the Himalayas to track down his predecessor who is believed to be close to the Dalai Lama. He won’t be coming back. She’s much happier now.
The two of us live together peacefully most of the time. I am her slave. It works. Especially since fibromyalgia has got a vicious grip on me. Pain rules my days. Medication only blunts it. Exhaustion, isolation, and depression are constants. I can’t keep up with my friends, and even though I have often explained, they just don’t understand how completely what I’m living with affects my life. My poetry is mostly in my pain free voice. Writing poetry takes me into “the zone”. I don’t like to dwell in the pain or “the story”. Miss Fifibelle is a great comfort to me though her affections are fickle and she has no compunction about using a claw to make a point.
Lizzie Packer is a writer, educator and artist. She lives where the sun sets over the sea, on the southern edge of Adelaide. She loves poetry, nature, contemplating the mysteries of the universe, and traveling as much as possible.