I come to the edge, just a little closer this time. I break the surface. Damn!
I thought I might be able to stay just-asleep, but I can tell I’m not. My first thought is “I’m still asleep,” maybe wishfully thinking, willing, myself back under.
Somehow the kitten knows. She must hear my breathing change, because she’s there immediately. She makes no noise, except the roar of her purring. She somehow parts the covers and wriggles under.
She is soft and warm – the pads of her feet and her belly fur feel almost hot as she steps across my legs. She settles down in the crook of my knees, and begins kneading. It’s gentle, like a relaxing massage, except that one claw pokes occasionally – just enough that I am now certain that I’m awake.
“It’s ok,” I think. “I can go back to sleep.” And I try to think sleepy thoughts, relax more, breathe deeply.
It works…I’m fading back to sleep. Oh, no I’m not. Yes I am. No I’m not.
That – that right there– should be my cue to get up. Once that argument in my head starts, I’m emerging into wakefulness. Even though I’m still so sleepy, my eyes won’t open. But my brain is waking up, and it won’t go back quietly into that dark good night. (Now it’s trying to remember poetry!)
At some point, I need to know what time it is. The light on my iPhone is a beacon when I push the button. 4:23. Why did I do that? Why do I care what time it is? But my brain is now engaging in math problems – yep, we’re coming awake. Oh, and my brain tells me we’ve estimated that it’s been “awaking” for the past twenty-three minutes.
No, I tell myself. It can’t be that long. Now my brain is trying to trick me into waking up. I roll to the other side to find a more comfortable position.
There’s a kitten there. She’s purring. And her kneading intensifies, now on my shin. It’s her fault I’m awake.
Maybe I can go back to sleep.
Quit fighting. After several sleep positions, rearranging the pillow, stretching – finally it’s enough. Get up quietly, don’t jiggle the bed too much, hear the kitten come out from the covers, open the door without squeaking the hinges (sorry!), head into the dark living room. That darn cat better be with me! I can’t see – my eyes have not adjusted. Oh, there she is.
So I sit on the floor, in the dark barely-morning, and give her a good-kitty rub down. She purrs loudly now, having successfully roused me from my warm cozy bed. I pet her soft fur and she is so happy. She wanders from my left hand petting her to my right hand petting her, until she leaves me completely to go to her food dish.
Now I’m awake enough to know I’m not going back to sleep until nap time, if there is a nap time today. I sit on the couch to read. She hops onto the cushion, curls up, and purrs herself to slumber.