No. You may not sit on my lap. Do you not see that my lap is already occupied by my large, silver laptop? Do you not realize, as your padded feet slip and slide over the glossy pages of the books piled on the couch, that I do not have time for you right now? You strain against my hand as I push you away, but you can’t win. I am bigger than you are. I am stronger than you are. I have homework. Mountains of it. I don’t have time for your tan speckled rump.
Do you remember? We had a moment last night where we both put everything aside and loved each other. I stroked between your dark ears and felt your throaty purr reverberate through my chest. You closed your eyes and your tale twitched with contentment. You disliked it when I fell to temptation and stroked your one black foot, but you forgave me. You fell asleep in my arms.
You will have to content yourself with that moment of yesterday. All the moments I have today are spoken for. They will be filled with footnotes and words. I’ll write until my brain is empty, typing on the cold keys. I’ll flip through pages looking for a juicy quote to fill my paper. I’ll agonize over the fact that I’m not following the established guidelines of three quotes per page. I have two quotes on one page and four on the other. Is that enough to satisfy? Should I add another quote to the offending page? I won’t be waylaid by your smooth fur or your brilliant blue eyes. I won’t let the fact that you are purring as I push you away soften my heart. You should know this already. It’s not like you don’t have experience with this sort of thing.
If you could only be more like your twin sister. She’s content to sit near my head on the back of the couch. The lighter lumps of her elbows poke upward. She sits, and she is content. She doesn’t need incessant petting. She doesn’t demand attention. Being near is enough for her. You would do well to study and imitate that air of careless company, the way she is present but ignorable. This is what I need from you right now.
Instead, we fight this battle. Your padded paws slip and slide over the pages of my books. I push you away and you look up at me with those sad sapphire eyes, straining to continue, to get to my lap and fall across the keys of my computer. I place both hands around your middle and plop you to the floor. You try again, hoping that this time I won’t notice the way you interrupt everything and make it impossible for me to work.
No. You may not sit on my lap. Today is not your day. I might have time for you tomorrow.