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February 13, 2008
How are the cats, I ask Q over the phone. He declined to come to Richmond with me this week because of his cat-managing duties. He should know by now that you really can't manage them.

Kitten has been rampant, it seems, jumping on Ben and sneaking up the stairs to the girl cats' quarters, where he succeeded in hiding from Q and ended up spending an illicit night. I suggest a rehabilitative trip outisde for Kitten, but it's snowing. Then I suggest a dose of catnip, maybe a martini -- something. Kitten needs to calm down.

But I miss them so -- all of them, the four-footers and the bipeds. I even miss my daughters when I am away, and that's very weird, since we haven't lived together in years. Missing my space makes me miss my people. I want them all.

In olden days, people often went away and never came back. All the travelers and all the soldiers, all the students, the apprentices -- off they went, and travel was too difficult for them to run back home for a visit. Life was uncertain -- who knew what might happen through years of separation. A letter might arrive with the news that you'd been a widow for two months without even knowing it.

Today there are telephones and there is email. I have not been out of touch with anybody since I left home last Friday -- Q even let me talk to Ben, and listen to Kitten purr. But nothing takes the place of touch, of sharing the air of home with the ones you love. People were brave back then, I say to myself as I turn out the light and settle back under unfamiliar covers in a strange bed. I get to go home in a day or two, and some of them never did.

Call them. Be sure to kiss them good-bye. Don't assume you can say tomorrow what you are moved to say today. You just never know.
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