In the narrow valley between Kevin and me, there’s nearly a hundred pounds of dog and kid and cat all curled, breathing low and working together to staple the blanket down. We can’t move without giving up the quilt. It’s summer, but even in our sleep we hold onto the blanket because of the principle.
We have a skylight in our room, and now it’s warming up into a nice shade of blue. I really should go back to sleep. Pretty soon whichever kid this isn’t will roll into the room and scoot me back from the edge of the bed. He’ll wave a book or the ipad at me, he’ll talk about chemistry or cats, he’ll ask for breakfast but if I ignore the request like a terrible person he’ll maybe fall back asleep for a little while. That’s when I sleep fastest, that last hour before it’s too late.
Even once the room is brighter and we’re all in conversation about something big and the day has clearly started, the pets still don’t bother to get up. They’re not asleep, they just don’t see the point in giving up their corners of the quilt unless things are really happening. Pets spend all of their time listening, did you know that? Even when they’re folded up in a corner of the living room with their eyes closed, they are listening and watching us and waiting for anything that has to do with them. I can find a piece of a leash that we used one time a year ago and Beezus will pop awake because Hey, me! That’s something to do with me!
Even the bird listens. Every morning and every night, Kevin shakes his packet of medicine — a powder that has to be mixed with water — and every time she tweets loudly in response. Like “Hey! That was a noise just FYI!” Throughout the day if anyone claps, she answers. If I use the tape gun, if anyone squeaks or tweets, or drops something on the wood floor you’re darn right she answers because hey! That was a noise and hey! It was a noise! Here’s another noise to go with it!
So here I am in a sprawling multileveled house with a whole family huddled within the small, dark radius of square footage that’s right around me. Did you ever have hamsters? We had hamsters when I was a kid and they would do this. Habitrails and tubes and wheels and little hamster observation decks — but they’d all pile up in a corner under the cedar chips and enjoy the warmth of being lazy together.