Clem wandered around the house, wondering when the yarn lady would be home. She'd left all dressed up earlier this evening, and it had been literally hours since then. As she'd left she'd told Clem she would be back later in the evening, so at least she knew that the yarn lady wasn't going to disappear for days at a time like she had a couple weeks ago.
That had been a horrible long time. A nice lady had come over to feed her and play with her, but the nice lady wasn't the yarn lady. She put out the exact same food, but somehow it hadn't tasted the same. The dishes were the same, the packages were the same, but it didn't taste as good without the yarn lady there. Clem had tried to play with the nice lady, but her loneliness and restlessness had caused her to scratch the nice lady. She hadn't meant to hurt her, but she did, and then she felt absolutely terrible for scratching her. Clem had gone and hid under the bed in embarrassment, but there had been no one to even notice she was hiding and coax her out.
When the yarn lady had come back, Clem had stuck to her like white on rice. Like a limpet on a rock. Wherever the yarn lady had sat or laid down, Clem was there, either on top of her or stretched full length against her side or legs. Preferably on top of her, that way she couldn't escape again. And when the yarn lady had gone out...well Clem sat and stared at the door until she came home and then attached herself again. It had taken nearly a week for Clem to feel confident that the yarn lady wasn't going to leave her again. She knew it wasn't a rational fear. The yarn lady had told her that she was going away and would be back in four days, but Clem hadn't thought at the time about how long four days actually were. Now she paid close attention when the yarn lady left, and watched the clock until she returned.
Even though she didn't feel the need to be physically on or snuggled right up next to her all the time, Clem found that she really did enjoy the physical contact with the yarn lady. Instead of lying on her for a few minutes at bedtime and then going out to sit on her favorite blanket in the living room, Clem found that she liked to sleep stretched out against the yarn lady's stomach or back, depending on which direction she was facing. It reminded her of when she had been a kitten, and she had slept curled up against her mother, or when her mother had been moved to another cage at the shelter, against another of her littermates. The contact was reassuring, and the yarn lady seemed to like it too. Throughout the night, as the yarn lady woke a little bit, her hand would move out and gently rub Clem's head or back in a brief caress. She'd smile a little smile and fall back asleep, perfectly content.
As Clem wondered for probably the twentieth or thirtieth time when she'd be home, the sliding door opened and Clem heard the yarn lady call out her name. Clem stretched and jumped down from her favorite blanket and headed to greet her best friend. All was right with the world now.
Photo courtesy of Rachel Luxemburg - http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiatlux/27383497