For fifteen years, whenever I had a nightmare, or Dante had a nightmare, we could wake each other from them. They say cats have extrasensory abilities, or some such thing, and I believe it . . . I’ve seen evidence of it my whole life. You know, like cats can sense ghosts and impending earthquakes, and can tell if you’re sick or sad, and will come to you when they sense this. Once, when I had strep throat and was the sickest I’d ever been in my life, Dante stayed by my side for all eight days of it:

There were countless times I cried alone in the dark in my bedroom, and Dante would push my door open and come sit beside me. Leila said he did the same thing when she was crying in my bed when I was at work. I’m tearing up now just thinking about it. Dante was such a sweet cat.

And now I don’t have Dante to come and sit quietly beside me when I’m sadder than hell, and look up to me with love even though he couldn’t fully understand the complexity of what was happening, and all the better for it. This was such a comfort to me. These days I have nightmares pretty much every night, and I wake up in fright. So real are my nightmares that it takes me an hour after I wake to fully divorce them from reality. I didn’t have to deal with this when Dante was still alive, because he saved me from them. And similarly when I heard Dante making little sounds in his sleep, and twitching his face because he was having a bad dream, I would gently shake him and call his name until he woke up.

How did Dante know I was having a nightmare? I guess it was just one of those extrasensory cat abilities, and his being attuned to my moods and demeanors. Now I wake from a nightmare into a different one . . . an empty apartment where he isn’t sitting on my chest and gently pawing at my face so I won’t feel scared anymore. Every day was a good day when I got to wake up to Dante. What is my life now? Endless nightmares with no one to pull me out again.