Hanging out on the couch next to my sweet older girl, Aspen. Her lifeline. Being near me, this strange human, is too much at this time. But with Aspen as a buffer, she can cope with me being on the same couch with her.
When Aspen leaves us, we start again. She joins me on the couch but only if I pretend she is not there. Always, always at the other end of the couch as far away from me as is possible. Uncertain. Fearful. Alone in her own world.
If I leave the couch or the room, she is gone like a flash, with only the hint of a whisper. Silently. Ethereal. A ghost.
Over time, she discovers that an exposed belly can bring delightful touches. Belly rubs. Softly spoken words. Love.
When a new man enters our lives - a furry, curious, attention-seeking little guy. She discovers competition. Attention to be shared. With it brings little movements - a little scooch closer, and then a little more. And always, the exposed belly. Waiting. More belly rubs to be enjoyed.
As time passes, little movements progress into sideways glances and the thump, thump, thump of a tail. "Will you be my friend?" she seems to ask. The answer is "Yes. Always." And then, slowly, a nose to my cheek.
One day, there is the lick of a tongue and a yellow head on my shoulder and again that thump, thump, thump of a tail. Confidence. Happiness. Joy. A smile. A new light in her eyes.
Three years pass. Patient, loving, gentle years. Now there is the automatic entrance and leap onto the couch followed by the exposed belly and questioning look "Belly rub?" Me on my computer. Working. And, then it happens... the slow, steady scooching. Closer. Closer still. Thump, thump, thump. Sideways glances now coming with steady progression. Thump, thump, thump. A sigh from me and the moving of the computer to a side table. My hand comes up to pet her ears, her head and neck. A kiss to her cheek. Loving words.
Ahhhh. Sweet moments in time. Savored. Treasured. Enjoyed.