A big black cat is curled on a folding chair in the kitchen. His name is Amadeus. His sister-pet, the dainty Lemon Jelly, has just left her perch in the kitchen windowsill, and now I am not sure where she is, except that I do know she is not in this room, the living room, because she has not vaulted over the baby-gate into rabbit territory.
Lemon Jelly and Hazel are friends now, uneasily. Hazel usually puts his ears forward and runs to meet her when she appears in his territory. Then Lemon Jelly puts her tail up and shuffles backward nervously.
My houseplant, a beach oleander that grew from a leaf my sister brought me at Christmas from Hawaii, has lots of small holes in its leaves now, but it has survived Lemon Jelly's repeated assaults nicely so far. Lemon Jelly has also survived the plant's poisons. All's well that ends well--but the end isn't here yet, because it's only the 6th of the month, and the cats will be here until the first of next month.
The cats are not ours; they belong to LV & her fiancé, who are also staying with us for September. O. is loving the full house, extrovert that he is; I am going insane by infinitesimal degrees, every time that I can't find something in the pantry because there are too many other things, and every time that I come home with another carton of eggs only to find that someone else has already bought eggs. Things do not stay where I put them, and Pipkin is running around my bedroom, trying to get into the heating vent to tear up the carpet some more. There is cat hair on the counter by the sink, and pawprints on the toilet lid. There are four towels on the towel rack and so none of them gets dry. There is too much stuff in the fridge, but not enough food to eat, because each thing I cook only lasts one dinner, with four people eating. (The cats beg for scraps but they never get any.) There is stress and there is chaos.
But there is also life and there is liveliness. When I sit at the kitchen table, a cat (usually Amadeus) will hop into my lap, and settle there, purring. Lemon Jelly and Hazel run around the living room gleefully. Every night can be game night, for the humans.
What I am remembering is that privacy is a privilege, not a right. Having a space to myself, ordered as I like it, is even more a privilege. I am blessed to have a house arranged my way for most of the time, and now I am blessed to have friends to share it with (even though they are here because of a sewer leak and black mold, and they are stressed out and looking for a lawyer). I am allergic to the cats, but I am blessed with an air filter that is really earning its keep, and I am blessed to not be so allergic that I can't let Amadeus sink into my lap and purr as if this is heaven, this is home.