Olive is watching me as I write this. With her camouflage-green eyes, pupils skinny as exclamation points, she notes every tiny tap of my fingers, how they leap when I reach for w’s and p’s. Now she is on her back, her gray paws tangled in my comforter. She loves me. I think she knows when I’m sad. Sometimes I run away from my family so I can cry all by myself then there comes Olive pushing the bedroom door open with her fur-encased head. “Are you okay? Can I jump on the bed next to you? I lost my Mommy too. Here, let me rub your shoulder. Never mind the fur. I’m shedding. It’s that time of the month.” I don’t stop crying, the hurt doesn’t let up, I just cry a little differently. I go from the sob of the deserted to the salty leak of the accompanied. My tears drizzle her fur and she doesn’t mind. I don’t have to explain anything. She knows. That’s why she came in the room. She is watching me write this, my middle-aged cat daughter. She can’t make out the words but she observes anyway. When I read them out loud to her, she squints but not because she’s trying to decipher the words but so she can let me know it’s naptime so make it quick. Get to the point, already. I love her. She doesn’t know my heart but she knows my feelings and sits near me anyway. She draws the line at snot. Tears she’s cool with. Snot she licks away because it messes up her coat. She licks my snot. I love her.