Despite two nights of nightmares that I can only attribute to my fear about commitment to a creature for a lifetime, I call the animal shelter to let the foster coordinator know that I may not be returning Maple to the shelter at the appointed time. I may, in fact, be her forever home.
“You’re the second one this week to adopt her charge,” the woman tells me. “Another failed foster parent!”
I suspect they count on failed foster parents.
She’s a wee seven pounds, seven ounces, the size of a newborn, but much quieter. For four days, she doesn’t say a thing. Then, when it’s lights out and I put her in her room alone for the night as part of her recovery, she paws at the door and utters the meekest meow at the lowest possible decibel, a cute inquisitive squeak. I can’t bear it and let her into my room where she jumps on the bed and nestles by my head. And licks my face. And grooms my arms. And presses her tiny, wet nose into mine.
At the slightest toss or turn, she’s alert and interactive, sure it’s time to get up. I hide under the blanket from the assault of affection and try to sleep in utter stillness.