Tim the Cat

I closed the bathroom door and turned on the water in the tub. A claw-foot tub, salvaged when the money-laundering Mafiosi purchased and modernized the 19th century hotel in our little town. They saw no conflict with using historic preservation grant money to gut the original fixtures and put in hot tubs. Being from Kansas City, they were quite up-to-date.

This particular tub went to a good home; a home where it was loved and cherished as a haven. Without turning on a light, I shivered out of my clothes and stepped into the hot bath. The cold of the gray day was banished as I slid down until only my head was above water. The steam reddened my face and wilted my hair.

Soaking there, I could see the moon rising above the bare trees. Misty clouds blew across the glowing body framed by the darkening sky. The perfect timing of moonlight bathing, planned by my home-building husband, happened on glorious rare occasions.

As the bath cooled, I opened the drain, let out some water, then topped off the tub with more hot, straight from the tap. Soon I was lulled into a stupor. Soon I dozed.

I dreamt that I was working in my kitchen. After a while I became aware that my cat, Tim, was sleeping on the seat of a chair at the long pine table. Tim, the neighborhood-litter version of a Russian Blue, had been dead for many years. I wanted him to wake up, so I started being noisier about my work: A little more banging of dishes and pans.

When he didn’t flinch I came to realize that I was dreaming him there, so went back to work, just enjoying knowing that he was close. I finished emptying the dishwasher and turned to the cutting board to chop onions for soup.

It was then that I began to catch glimpses of something out of the corner of my eye. Something small and quick that I never clearly saw, just flashes. I went on chopping for a bit wondering what it was. I looked over at Tim to see if he was still there. He lay quietly in the same position with his head tucked into his paws and his tail wrapped around him. I then knew what it was that I was glimpsing. Tim was dreaming a mouse.

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Lynn Packham Larson

Lynn lives with her husband in a house that he built, where the edge of town meets the edge of the woods. She was raised in a big city, and now finds peace and inspiration walking the dog and hiking the trails near her home. The birding is wonderful, trees abundant, water plentiful.

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