If I buy you this Tiffany cat lamp can we give Noodle away?
Give her AWAY?!?
Its eyes light up when you switch it on.
No! I LOVE Noodle. YOU love Noodle. We can't get rid of Noodle.
She's tearing up the carpet in the bedroom, he says. She's the smallest cat we have and she takes up half the bed -- I can't stretch out my legs. She jumps on the other cats. What's-Her-Name can't even use the litterbox without Noodle jumping her when she comes out.
How do you know?
She's still a kitten. I don't really know when they stop being kittens. It's different with each cat, as it is with each human, which is why you meet so many 45-year-old teenagers.
Now our bedroom door is closed at night, and Noodle is in jail, rather than with us. She sleeps on a chair in the hallway or on the bed in the India Room. Sometimes, when my legs hurt and I can't sleep, I go in there to keep her company, and we listen to the BBC together until daylight.
I loved sleeping with Noodle every night, the three of us, and hope that our menage can resume when she grows up a little. Meanwhile, I notice that she has a new friend: a stuffed mink that came from an old mink stole, the kind made of actual minks linked together, with the heads and claws still on.
Noodle has a pet mink, I tell Q. Look. The mink is lying on Noodle's chair, its head hanging over the edge of the seat.
Yes. Her name is Sally.
Well, I don't know. You'll have to ask Noodle about that. Noodle drags Sally around the house, and twice I have found Sally by the feeding bowl in the kitchen. She doesn't seem to eat much. Sometimes Noodle is asleep in her chair, and I slip Sally onto the seat beside her.
Q puts Sally high up on the bedpost one night. He gets into bed and one of Sally's legs waggles slightly from his shaking of the bed; it is as if she were a more current mink than she really is. An unsettling sight. She is gone by morning, rescued by her friend Noodle.
Some of us are hard on our families. We take a lot out of them. Sometimes they need a break from our bright ideas. Maybe those times are occasions upon which we can find a new friend, a new place, reach within ourselves for some new resources. Give everybody else a rest. For a little while.