I stepped outside and called Bituminous. The night was quiet, except for the drone of insects, and dark, with no moonlight. The yellow light from the living room spilled out the windows onto the deck where I stood, but didn’t extend out into the yard.

I waited. I called again, then thought I caught a glimpse of movement out by the driveway. A moment later a small black form emerged from the darkness and came bounding towards me. He leaped up the steps and came to me gladly, rubbing ecstatically against my legs. Scooping him up, I held him against my chest and felt his soft fur on my cheek, heard and felt his contented purr. I smiled and sighed happily; my cat was safe for the night and, as always, I cherished the opportunity to hold him close.

Now fifteen years old, Bituminous has been an indoor cat for two years. He spends time nearly every morning purring and kneading on my lap as I sip tea and read while watching woodpeckers and songbirds at the feeder. With him on my lap, I’m more inclined to rock quietly and be still for a while. His calming influence helps me since, though I love to sit and reflect, I usually have a hard time actually quieting myself for more than a few brief minutes.

Bituminous exemplifies trust for me. Trust so deep that there’s no hesitation, not a moment’s question of whether it is safe to approach. I have always been safe harbor for him, so he happily streaked from the darkness to my arms when he was younger. Now he confidently walks up and asks for lap time whenever he hears the subtle creak of my rocking chair. He simply is my cat, and he loves to be with me. I love him, too, and am thankful for every day I have with him.