Used to be, when I came home, my permakitten Grace would come sauntering to the door. It wasn’t like she catapulted into my arms as my dearly departed calico Maxiemillion Rosmoon always did. She’d greet me more like–Oh! You’re home? I just happened to be walking down the hall and here you are. Still, as I put down my things, she’d bump me—casually, super-casually—until I lay down on the floor and scratched behind her ears. It was a perfect ritual for shedding the mishegos of the outside world, and I appreciated it all the more for the effort it required of my normally reserved cat.
Nowadays, I don’t hear word one from Little Miss when I come home. Frankly, I blame it on the Magic Chair. Ever since I dragged it home from the Hamptons earlier this summer, Gracie has spent all her time lolling in its wooden splendor. She doesn’t sleep with me anymore, she doesn’t perch on my legs as I write, she doesn’t even trot around the apartment, prowling for evil, evil dust mice. She just snuggles in that blasted rocking chair, communing with the Good Grandpa Ghost who came with it. I get the sense that he caresses her all day long, rubbing her striped belly and purring softly like the mommy from which she was mysteriously separated when she was but a month old. (We found her as a still-bleating baby, mawing Doritos and malt liquor from trash cans like all the other toughies on the block.) The other day, when I was very stuck on a review, I displaced her briefly so I could soak up The Chair’s good writing energy–this grandfather liked authors, methinks–and she glowered until I ceded what she apparently now regards as her rightful throne. Twas no joke, I assure you.
I’m torn: I miss my tiny friend’s companionship but am glad she has found a way to quell the anxiety that has plagued her since she was small. To that end, I leave a small glass of water every night on my ancestors’ altar for this grandpa of another man–I know his spirit boasts an uncomplicated kindness that only can be good for us both—and I have placed a striped cushion on the chair to make my sweet friend even cozier. Even witch’s familiars need familiars, and it is my duty to respect that.
Last weekend while in the, ahem, Hamptons (they’re so tony I can scarcely type their name), I went to a bevy of amazing yardsales. Most prized among my booty was an antique wood rocking chair made by the grandfather of the man who sold it to me; when I accurately described the grandfather (who was right around us as far as I was concerned), the man—a year-rounder who worked construction—gave it to me for $10 and a hug. Such a cute person. After money changed paws, he helped me attach the chair to Sadie, my forever-on-the-blink Hyundai. I lugged it up to my third-floor Brooklyn walkup with much huffing and puffing and more than a few reservations: Ever since my apartment rehab, I’ve considered the near-emptiness of my living room to be the height of glamour. But the chair has turned out to be a great writing ally–this man’s grandpa may have harbored literary fancies of his own–and as I type in it, permakitten Gracie nestles beneath, purring to herself and squeaking in happy fright whenever I rock unexpectedly. I suspect this Grandpa ghost is blocking whatever other energy was giving her agita, and I’m glad for him, as well as for her. My Summer of Reckoning sure has produced some treasures.