Sometimes Mike goes to bed several hours before I do. When he works 6 AM – 6 PM, he is often out of the house before 5:00 in the morning. That means bedtime can be as early as 9 PM, and I am usually not ready to lay down at that hour.
So I sit on the couch in a dark living room, providing my lap as a rotating love-station for the cats. Once midnight comes around, they catch their second wind and start charging across the hardwood floor, skidding into walls, knocking over picture frames, staring blankly up into corners, and other cat things. I laugh at them quietly, though I’m not sure how Mike sleeps through the noise. Their energy is at once amusing and annoying.
I will wander to the bathroom before 1 AM arrives, sleepily brush my teeth, wash my face, and wipe my eyes of a day’s thoughts, stresses, and smiles. I will quietly change into my night-time uniform, which in the summer consists of “boyshorts” and a t-shirt.
The cat’s thundering and blundering continues for a while after I’ve locked the doors and turned off the lights. They gallop up and down the halls chasing one another, pausing only to stalk a shadow in the doorway before taking off again. Then they slow back down and settle. I’m not sure they really sleep.
I push aside the blankets and snuggle deep in a warm bed next to a sleeping husband. In goes my retainer. Moose tiptoes across the carpet and launches herself onto the bed. Her claws grip the comforter and that tell-tale purring gets louder and louder as she plops herself onto my chest, always managing to place two paws directly on my lady parts before deciding she’s comfortable. Sometimes Buffalo creeps in. I can tell she’s praying Moose won’t see her, that she can just get petted for a few minutes without being antagonized, and maybe Moose will fall off the bed and break her limbs. They don’t get along, those cats. Usually Buffalo lopes slowly to the other end of the house, perching herself atop a carpeted cat fort in our spare room, and there she’ll brood until the hunger pangs of morning force her to mix with the rest of the family. And when you go to bed at 1 AM, morning usually comes too soon.
But in the still, sweet night, when I sit wrapped in a blanket before bedtime, couch-bound and comfortable with the delicate silence around me, I am alone with my thoughts and time has no meaning.