Approach me as you would a cat. One you don’t know but sometimes glimpse at twilight on your way home.
Don’t get too close too soon. You might scare me off without meaning to.
Slow down. Get down on my level. Speak to me softly. Make me feel safe.
Let me make the first move. And the second.
Let me smell your fingertips. Tell me who you are and where you’ve been and what you’ve done.
Let me cozy up to you, brushing your leg and nuzzling your open hand before you touch me gently, tentatively. Right there behind my ear.
I like the feel of your hands on me. Keep going, but pay attention to where and how you touch. I’m still wary, and some places are off limits. And even though I don’t want to, I might hurt you to keep you from crossing my boundaries. To keep you from hurting me.
But if you’re patient, maybe I’ll purr for you. A sign of my languid contentment.
Maybe I’ll feel safe enough to let my guard down, show you my belly, expose my weak spots.
Maybe I’ll want to follow you home and curl up into the inviting, hollow curve of your body. The solid shelter of you.
And if you let me in, maybe I’ll want to stay. I won’t be the perfect companion. I’ll wake you up when it’s still dark out—playful, insistent, hungry. I’ll leave my smell on your sheets and my hair on your pillow, bite marks and scratches when you provoke me, a mess when I’m sick or stressed or angry.
But I’ll be there when you’re feeling lost or lonely. And I’ll kill the spiders for you.