Today’s slice was inspired by Melanie’s Yes, I Like My Space.
For the few minutes that I don’t have cats in my lap, I prop my laptop on outstretched legs. It feels so comfortable to sit straight, arms and eyes focused ahead, hands falling naturally at the level of the keys. But as soon as the cats arrive—usually four, sometimes one, occasionally five—they clamber into my lap. I shift my laptop to the arm of the chaise. If I move quickly enough, no cat feet will disturb keys or touch pad, but sometimes a cat ambushes the lap from behind and I end up with a highlighted screen or a new tab open or a line of gibberish before I can lift cat, then lift laptop.
I type my slice twisting my torso left or right to reach across and over cats to the keys of the laptop that now balances by my side. It’s not uncomfortable at first. It feels like a gentle stretch. But as I hold the twist for ten minutes, twenty, more, my lower back begins to register alarm.
My coffee sits on the table beside the chaise. I wait for it to cool before taking a sip. It’s still very hot, so I sip loudly, taking in cooling air as well as coffee. It’s only me and the cats, so I don’t have to mind my manners and drink quietly. I have my favorite mug this morning, the horoscope mug with a crab, my birth symbol, and my birth sign characteristics printed on the side: Imaginative and Moody.
There is a stack of books, including one I might write from if I’m stuck for an idea, The Quickwrite Handbook. But it’s buried at the bottom of a precarious stack and threatens the safety of my coffee if I try to retrieve it.
I sit by a window, but there is only the view of the garage rooftop and the snow-covered car and the fence that’s been half-painted for two summers and the back of the basketball hoop and a few bare trees tops to distract me from my writing. That is to say, no view at all. And in winter, these old windows leak cold air, so for now they’ve covered in layers of thick plastic. Even if I had a wonderful view, it would be filtered and partial through the plastic. On dark mornings when I look outside, I can’t even tell if it’s snowing.
This is the coldest room in the house, but the plastic keeps what warm air there is inside. Cats cover me like a blanket from toes to waist, and I am not cold.