Reebok sat on the futon overlooking Ocean View Drive. The sun shone warm on his pudgy frame, but the warmth felt good soaking through his mutli-shaded grey coat.
His view of the afternoon traffic was distracted by the occasional gull that flew from the beach to Ocean View and back. But he couldn't afford distraction. He was looking for "She."
"She" was that fabulous creature who had discovered his inner most secret. "She" was that human who had seen into Reebok's feline nature and spent her hours trying to understand his innermost thoughts. "She" had a hum-drum job and Reebok felt it was his job to help loosen her up, make her feel special at the end of a routine day.
As Reebok waxed reminiscent in the Virginia sun, he recalled dishes of ice cream he helped "She" devour. As he streched his legs, he thought of the quiet evenings spent with "She" stroking his thick coat with that fine wire thingy.
The sudden urge to wash himself overcame Reebok's reverie momentarily.
Then he saw her pull in the driveway below. "She" was home! Time to get the house ready: Jump off the futon and rub the doorpost; Make sure the TV is off; Check the kitchen for food; All was well.
From another corner of the apartment, "Mom." came to the door. For some odd reason, "She" called Mom 'Helen.' Mom had been rescued by "She" after a car accident left Mom with only three legs. "She" nursed Mom back to health and raised several of Reebok's brothers and sisters. He always knew he was the favorite, though, because "She" kept him with Mom through moves and jobs.
Reebok and Mom gave each other the Feline Visual Greeting then sat passively, side by side.
Keys made that familiar afternoon music. A few muffled thuds up the stairs and "She's" voice sang out joyfully, "Reebok!" "Helen!"
The routine was same as usual. "She" put her purse on the counter, coat on the chair, shoes on the mat. She grabbed that big bag and gently shook it as she sang:
"Kitty, kitty, kitty!" ("She" had such a way with words :-)
Reebok and Mom ate casually, as always, while "She" unwound. With full stomach, then, Reebok mosied to the futon that had been his lookout. He rubbed her legs with the roundness of his belly, one side, then the other. His perky tail let "She" know he cared.
"She" mumbled something in those unintelligble human noises she made and grabbed him by the shoulders to assist him onto the futon. "She" gazed deeply into his eyes. More mumbling . . .but it sounded pretty.
Then, the magic moment. In the soft spot between his shoulder blades, "She" tickled lightly, compellingly. Deep in Reebok's throat, a purr began. As the tickling grew, so did the loss of control.
"I am a cat," Reebok told himself. "Control. Control."
The tickling was driving him insane with pleasure. The purring intensified. Reebok squinted to maintain control. Then she said it:
"Reebok . . .'must lick'."
In a moment out of Reebok's control, he began licking his own chest.
Lick, lick, lick!
Like a blithering idiot, Reebok had again succumbed to "She's" temptation. The feeling was so awesome he was lost in the joy of it.
Lick, lick, lick!
"She" chuckled under her breath and mumbled some more in her human sounds. How had "She" seen into his feline soul to know his secret? What did she know that caused him to drop his kitty guard, so nobly carried in his 30-pound frame? How did she cross the line from the human world into this, his passionate cattus sanctum?
He hoped the moment would never end. But he slowed. Lick . . .lick . . .
Then, a sudden stop. Mom walked around the kitchen corner. Their eyes met as Mom sat and began washing herself where her leg had once been. "She" thought Helen was cleaning up after supper. But Reebok knew the signal: "Stop that nonsense at once."
And the evening went on, as always, the rolling of the mighty Atlantic rhythmically calling Reebok and Mom and "She" to the end of another day.
I write this entry in tribute to my sister's dear cat, Reebok, who died last Thursday at 15 1/2 years old. Reebok was with my sister, Sue Ellen, through thick and through thin. I hope this little glimpse at one of Reebok's vulnerabilities helps you know just how special he was to Sue Ellen and the rest of us.
As you remember Reebok, find a cat to tickle today!