“Go ahead, you can touch it,” I say to everyone who comes over to our house. “It feels like warm velvet.”
Most people wrinkle their noses.
I nod. Then they reach out their hand. The other held in tight to their chest, ready to make a quick escape.
“It’s really hot!” they say and start petting. Soon, they are met with a head butting into their hand, demanding more. The rat-like tail whipping back and forth.
The warmth always surprises. An animal’s normal body temperature is between 100 and 102 degrees, but it’s not something normally felt through fur. Without fur it feels like a hot water bottle, warm and comforting. Always cold, they’re like heat seeking missiles. They curl up in your lap if you sit down or wiggle under the covers to lay next to you while you sleep.
I’ve always wanted a hairless pet. I like the way they feel. I like how their skin moves, loose and free over their bodies when you pet them. I like to watch them move around, appreciating the contraction and lengthening of their muscles, the way their bones articulate with each other.
I thought I’d never have one. I’m against buying animals. I adopt all my pets and always will. The only way I’ll get an animal is if someone else decides to give it up. No one gives up a hairless pet. So when my husband came home and said one of his coworkers needed to find a new home for her Sphinx, I couldn’t say no. I finally had my hairless pet.
Alex has taken over the house. I have a blanket I put on the bed that he squirrels under in the early morning and late afternoon when the temperature drops. In the middle of the day he’s either perched in our bedroom window or laying in front of the sliding glass door to the backyard soaking up the sun. At night, he jumps on the blanket I’m wrapped in watching television and kneads and pulls until a corner comes up. He shimmies under the covers and finds somewhere to curl up on top of me, purring. He is more affectionate than my needy dog, constantly seeking attention and rewarding a few simple pats with sonorous purrs. He’s also very tolerant of little hands pulling his tail as it sways back and forth off the edge of the couch.
He may be ugly at first glance, but once you get to know him, he’s beautiful.
This week’s assignment is to write a short piece, either fiction or non-fiction, about something ugly – and find the beauty in it. Concrit is welcomed and appreciated.