Nonfiction - Snakes and Spiders


When I wake, the cats are at the door – they want to slip into bed and lie in my warm vacancy. One is black with a teacup on her chest, the other gray as elephant's breath with muted stripes. In the darkness, I fumble against their fur, locating rump, scruff, finally head, and I pet what I can find until they roll over and expose their tummies – a trap. Under the bluing shade of early morning they are furry dead spiders. 

Cats aren't the only parasite squirming in the bedwaters – my wife, snorting like the Union Pacific, snakes her cold fingers and toes toward me, seeking flickers of heat like sausages over a campfire.

Shower. Toothpaste. Size 40 pants instead of last year's 38. An XLT button-down that's starting to hug. The cats follow me to the living room as I pick up a satchel and keys. Jenny lets me pet her back – she has a funny habit of bursting forward when my hand reaches her tail, to circle around for another run. Remy sits on the couch, feet tucked under his chest like a chicken in a coop. I think of saying goodbye to the snoring pile of hair in the other room, but my wife doesn't work until 9. Still, what if I never see her again?

I open the door and step into a world devoid of Julie and Jenny and Remy and the little routines of morning before the light.