After the initial hubbub of “feed me breakfast” and “may I go pee?”, the house settles into a predawn hush. Overhead lights are dimmed to the highest tolerable level. Movements are slow and sleepy.
It’s a rare occasion when our morning schedules are staggered and James can cocoon back under the covers with MJ while I go about getting ready for work as quietly as possible. The two of them return from morning constitutionals, bound up the stairs and shut themselves into darkness. It’s aggravating that he gets to enjoy one more hour of sleep when I’m assaulted by daytime. And then I remember…
Doodle. He eats, he businesses, and then he saunters over to the couch and curls up. He’s not interested in returning to the bedroom or hanging out at the top of the stairs while I get myself together. The little girl is out of his fur, the tv isn’t on and he’s found solace from the world outside, still quiet and less scary. He makes himself comfortable, nests into the pillows and waits.
After showering, dressing, make-up-ing and tip-toeing to wish the snoring lovers a good-bye (plus “don’t sleep all day”), I toe-heal down the stairs, across the kitchen, and onto the couch beside him.
For just a few minutes, it’s me and Zozo. He’ll roll half onto his back and sniff my face, taking in the cosmetic and perfume and product scents. I scratch under his graying chin with both hands, remembering when he was all black and restless. We hug-it-out in the dark before I put on my shoes and head out to work. Just us. Quiet. Still. Introverts united on microfiber.
But when the inevitable time comes, and I’m pulling the door closed behind me, I issue his one, very important job for the day:
“Be a good boy, Zo. Take care of the house.”