Something else that stuck: An interview with then-12-year-old Brooke Shields, during which she was asked, "What does good in bed mean?" Her response: "When I'm sick and stay home from school watching TV and my mom brings me soup - that's good in bed."
Working with Brooke's definition, my cat Derrick is definitely good in bed. Lately he's been doing the feline equivalent of tucking me in at night, a furry nanny with toasted marshmallow ears and one lone black whisker. When he knows it's time for bed he gallops ahead of me, Tiggerlike and tail high, settling himself right at my pillow and positioned at eye level.
Then he'll look at me and purr, so loud it looks like he's hiccuping, until I fall asleep. I know this because one night I wanted to see what he was doing, and every time I opened my eyes, his big, moony blue ones were looking back. How freaking sweet is that?!
But really, I know it's all about the purr. It's like there's a crazy stereo receiver in his big cat head, and purring is the buzz that fills the air when the music's over--sound waves rumble, vibrating in the air around me, whiskers tuning into the best possible frequency to get me set for idea gathering, dream building, star watching, poem growing…
I also know he leaves soon after I fall asleep, and comes back when the sparrows wake up, greeting me with a squawk like a baby bird, born anew.