by Christina Murphy
I am in the living room listening to music, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony Pathétique, when the cat walks by with a ceramic ballerina in his mouth. The ballerina is wearing a gold fleur-de-lis costume with black slippers painted on her feet. She is posed in an attitude en pointe, standing upon one foot with the other foot held high to her side. Her arms are lifted gracefully above her head, and in one hand she holds a miniature flower.
“Where did you get that?” I ask him.
When he tosses his head to the side, I know I am to follow him, and I do, walking into the study where there is an obvious hole in the floor.
I get down, peer in, and am reluctant to put my hand in the hole, so the cat pushes me aside and brings out a music box.
It is a beautiful box, delicately carved, with a black satin lining and a tiny mirror in front of which the ballerina dances. Before I can attach the ballerina to the music box, the cat picks her up in his mouth, carries her to the mahogany table by the window, and softly puts her down. A slight breeze comes through the window, lifts the curtain gently, and lets moonlight fall upon the ballerina’s lovely features.
The cat picks up the ballerina in his mouth, waits for me to open the music box, and lays her down in a fold of soft velvet in front of the mirror.
“Have you seen her dance before?” I ask him.
“In another life?”
I open the curtain fully so that moonlight fills the room. In its soft glow, the ballerina’s costume is a river of gold.
The cat positions the ballerina in the music box so that the delicate flower in her hand is reflected in the mirror. A small beam of the loveliest blue light moves from the flower onto the cat. For a moment, the cat disappears and then returns ballerina-size. He is wearing a white tuxedo, and he is smiling.
“You look quite grand,” I say, as he watches me attach the ballerina and turn the music box key. The cat steps into place, his paw gently around the ballerina. The music is ethereal. I can imagine it playing at the creation of the universe. The cat and the ballerina dance, and the blue light fills with stars.
I would like to be with them but I leave, closing the study door behind me. It is their magic alone to share, and someday I will find a magic of my own.