First of all, Solomon is fine. Since Oliver came to live with us, he’s monopolized photographs and stories – Ollie’s the ham, the clown, the drama magnet with the cat-in-the-back-alley demeanor and flying saucer eyes. So when Solomon shows up on Flickr, in his camouflage, people immediately ask, is he ok? Has he passed? Is this a memorial? No! He’s fine! He’s surpassed the danger zone of seven months since his surgery, and he’s like a small horse. Tough, strong, healthy, hungry. King Solomon.
When a cat has been with you a long time, in my case over eleven years, he becomes so much a part of your home as to be inseparable from it. Dogs have exterior lives, an outside world, interactions with neighbors, with neighbor’s pets, with trees, with birds, with the lawn. Solomon rules over my interior landscape, has relationships with certain table tops, with rectangles of sunlight, with a folded square of red blanket, with a window sill, a particular section of the hallway, a singular dining room chair. (This one, not that one). And he’s so much of a presence that when he’s not here, for a very short list of reasons, the uncounted elements that make up the house no longer add up properly. I unconsciously expect him to be there, or there. I sense him outside the doorway even when there’s no sign or sound of him. I see him out of the corner of my eye, running, smacking at Oliver, muttering about the indignity of it all.
I was looking through pictures of my old home, and found myself smiling because of all the close-ups and portraits and details of Solly I’ve taken, it’s the house pictures that describe him best. His wine bottle shape and slow-mo tiger pacing and road-kill napping are as much a part of the shape and sound of things as the satin shine of the top of his head, the press of his curled sleeping shape next to me on the couch. He’s background as well as foreground. He is home.