I called her Nieve at first, because she came two weeks before a big snowstorm. La nieve is the vocabulary word for snow, in Spanish, but I gave it a Slavic twist. A friend’s mom was going to the Republic of Georgia to teach politics and needed someone to take care of her. So, her name was said as one syllable. Nyev. She was white as snow, with blue eyes.
Hiding under the bed, she peered at me with those piercing, blue eyes. It wasn’t long before I coaxed her out with a fluffy, red toy.
We played hard. She could reverse directions, doing a 180° turn in mid air!
We used to play hide and seek. She’d hide, and I’d look for her, then I’d hide and call her. It wasn’t fair. There weren’t many places for a fully grown human being in a studio apartment.
We used to play catch with a knobby, bouncy ball. I’d toss it down the hall, on the linoleum floor, and she’d go get it from whichever corner it hid, pull it out, and drop it. I’d join her and toss it the other way.
She got along with dogs. She loved them as long as they didn’t bark. She could hold her own with ease. She’d march up to one in the courtyard, freaking it out. It’d back away at first, but then, when it saw she meant no harm, it’d wag its tail and lower itself to her level to play.
She loved the courtyard. Since I lived on the garden level, I could open my window and let her out. She’d jump up on the window and out she went to explore! She went missing once or twice. Once she was gone for two whole days. I came back from work, and she was sitting on a picnic table, covered in dust, obviously having explored someone’s storage area. The complex made it a rule that I had to be there when she was out. She was irritated with this new rule, and she LET ME KNOW.
One night, I had finished using the bathroom at 3 in the morning. It was pitch black in my apartment, but I knew the route. I walked down the long hall and into the studio room, and she jumped onto my leg! She nearly scared the bejeezus outta me! Her name was no longer Nieve. It was now affirmatively Boo!
We then moved.
She no longer goes outside. We are near the wild and a busy road all at the same time.
Now she lies there as we play. I do most of the work, but she still loves it. She will stand there, demanding it, while I prep for work at 8PM. Her favorite toy is a wand with feathers attached to the end.
Mealtime is still her favorite time of the day. If I miss it, she eats too fast, throws it up, then asks for more.
For entertainment, she watches from the window sill, still on the garden level.
During the pandemic, we grew close. She learned to pay attention to my sleep patterns - how I breathed. She paid attention to my eating patterns and wanted to eat with me. I reduced how much she ate at mealtime, but increased the number of meals she had throughout the day. She didn't like it ONE BIT! She loved eating more, just not less at each meal. She LET ME KNOW! Boo is part Siamese. She has LUNGS!
We did a LOT of snuggling during quarentine. She was content to have me at home and ALL TO HERSELF! I would go for long walks, and when I returned she would be at the window, waiting for my return. Then, when I opened the door, she was at my feet or at the end of the hallway, ready to discuss the walk - that I went on one - leaving her at home.
I, too, got to enjoy her. I love to put my nose in her belly - something that she's been trained to like - and she LOVES IT! She will purr with delight!
As we went out of quarentine, Boo would look at me in wonderment when I left the house, as if to say,"Am I not enough for you? Do you need to go out?"
I'd watch her follow sun spots, lying in them or not lying in them.
She continues to try new spots…
But her favorite spot of all is between my legs.
“I love you, Boo,” even if you wake me up late at night for a feeding.