The first time I held Kinusaya, she was a tiny kitten. I lifted her out of the basket where she lay nestled with her purring mama cat and her three tiny siblings. She purred but did not otherwise register my presence.
I went to my friend’s house to visit Kinusaya every week until she was ready to come home with me. She would perk up when she heard my voice and would purr and cuddle into my neck when I held her. She hadn’t opened her eyes yet, but I figured they would open eventually. She skittered and scampered around the play area my friend had set up for the kittens. Kinusaya held her own with the other kittens in spite of her eyes still being shut.
That first day at my apartment, she quickly found her way around and became proficient with the kitten-sized catbox I had set up for her. We played on and off throughout the day, and as I worked at my computer, her head would swivel in my direction whenever I spoke to her. In the evening, I lifted her onto my bed and settled her down so we could both get some rest.
I remember falling into the most profound sleep I had ever experienced. I began to dream. I was standing in a rose garden and Kinusaya was perched on a trellis of flowering vines, waiting for me. I saw Kinusaya, regarding me with alert eyes of glittering amethyst. Jumping down, she sped off into the garden, nimbly criss-crossing through hedgerows and gravel paths. I ran to keep up with her and with Kinusaya in the lead, we explored what seemed like endless expanses of fantastical lands.
I woke up the next morning, feeling incredible. Kinusaya lifted her head and licked my cheek, purring and stretching. I got on with my day and Kinusaya stayed close by, aware of me but carrying on with her own cat routine. That night, and every night thereafter, the same thing happened. Dream Cat Kinusaya would open her eyes and lead me through dreamscape after dreamscape. Sometimes we swam, sometimes we flew.
Kinusaya never opened her eyes during the day. She nevertheless managed to live a happy life in the confines of my flat. One night I dreamt we were both floating over a broad savannah swarming with thousands of cats who looked like Kinusaya. I looked at her and realized that she was going to leave me. Panicking, I tried reaching for her. She took a final backwards look at me before leaping into the sea of cats. I was fighting to stay asleep to go after her but I felt myself being pulled into consciousness. I startled awake and saw Kinusaya lying next to me, lifeless.
I don’t dream about much of anything anymore. But what keeps me going is the hope that one night Kinusaya will visit so we can soar through the skies once again.