I’m not good at intimacy. I can count the number of folks in my life who have known the Real Me on one hand, with fingers left over.
Charlie the cat is long and lean
The color of the night
And his eyes are green
He likes to snuggle…*
With Charlie, snuggling is a fairly formalized proposition. If he doesn’t invite himself, I do so by patting the bed next to me three times. He then waits what he considers an appropriate time–varying from a few seconds to a couple of minutes–to demonstrate that he is, indeed, his own cat and not responding to any orders. Then he hops up and walks back and forth a few times, purring. My position has to be just right; if not, he waits until I’ve completed my part of the ritual. Then he curls up so that his rear feet and head are in one of my hands, his body firmly pressed against my other arm and chest. Purring ensues, usually tapering off into little snores.
“I know you’re in there You’re just out of sight.” ~ Al Stewart
I can’t begin to number the times my wife has said to me over the years things on the order of “I just want to talk to the real you!” It used to piss me off, because I was convinced that the “real” me was the legend I’d created in my mind and was attempting to project to the world. Hell, it was frightening to think (because it was true) that there might be someone inside that I didn’t even know — someone who might blow my cover, who might leak the word that I wasn’t the tough guy I’d painted myself to be. What if the world back then had known that I secretly wrote poetry; that my greatest ambition was to live in the woods, take pictures and write? Would they have cared one way or the other? Probably not. But having been convinced that the real me wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t about to let them find out. Continue reading “The House By The Side Of The Road”