We are all creatures of habit. People. Cats. Even dogs.
“Will you be sad? Lonely?” my friend Jill asked me as she blew up the air mattress in my empty bedroom. Everything in the apartment was gone. Packed up in boxes and moved to my mother’s. I’d even sold the bed. Truth is, I hadn’t expected to sell it so quickly. I still had a few more nights in the apartment — hence the air mattress.
“I don’t think so,” I said. But as I looked around at the bare walls, I wasn’t so sure. I watched her make the little mattress with my queen-sized sheets. At least the thing was high enough off the floor. I could make an easy transfer to and from the wheelchair instead of wondering how I’d get off the floor.
Later that night, I came from the bathroom, feeling exactly as Jill had anticipated. Sad and lonely. I tucked my toothbrush back in an overnight bag, a guest in my own apartment. Then I looked at the air mattress and smiled.
Frankie was sprawled out by the foot. Bella had taken over the top half, including my pillow. They both looked sound asleep and quite comfortable. I wondered how on earth there’d be room for all three of us. Frankie barely moved over when I launched myself onto the bed. Bella looked a good deal more concerned as the bed wiggled and wobbled about like a waterbed. She crept over the unstable surface, crouching low, eyes wide, ready to flee at the first sign of danger. She slowly repositioned herself, looking doubtful of the whole affair, yet not relinquishing her customary spot. I tried to make as little movement as possible, an impossible feat for me on a regular, much bigger bed. I marveled that we all stayed put. It felt like we’d roll over and topple off at any moment.
As I laid in the dark and listened to Bella’s purr and Frankie’s snore, I felt anything but lonely.