From the time I was small, I had cats. When I was little, my mom kept a pair of black cats. They followed her wherever she went. Their yellow-green eyes glowed in the dim light of her study. They slept in the shadows of her bedroom and would take turns curled up at the foot of my bed when I was small.
When I would sit at the dining room table after school to practice my letters and numbers, they would tickle their whiskers across the bottoms of my feet. As I got older, their whiskers traced lines higher and higher on my shins.
Once I hit high school, too much homework and too great a social life left me with little time. They rubbed the length of their body across the pointed folds of my blue jeans and curled around my calves, dancing between the rungs of the chair in typical feline grace until I bent down to scritch their heads. When the requisite petting had been met, they would either curl up before the drawer of my desk or in the footwell over my toes.Their scrubbing around my legs went with barely a notice as I worked with facts and figures or scribbled an essay before running off with friends.
Once I got to college, the accustomed feline rub wasn’t anything I missed or even noticed until I felt the familiar shift of my pants leg in my dorm room one afternoon as I typed a paper. The sensation passed over me three times before it registered what I felt. Someone must have smuggled a cat as a pet despite the ‘no pets’ rule.
When I looked down, however, there were no cats. Nothing could have simulated the press of the body or the faint purring I heard. My door was tightly closed. I went back to my word processor with a shrug. I must have missed home a little more than I thought. I became ensconced with my writing once again only to feel the scrape of whiskers against the bottoms of my feet that were planted flat against the floor.