by David Zeligson.

On a quiet street in Kensington, in a small, tastefully decorated home, a new family has recently moved in. Miles and Lisa relocated to San Diego shortly after being married. Ralph (Miles’ best buddy, an English bulldog) and Sadie (Lisa’s Maine Coon cat with whom she is inseparable) also share their home.

The four living together in this space has not been without its challenges. Miles works outside the home and says goodbye to Ralph after their weekday morning walks. Lisa works from home. She spends much of the day in her office, talking on the phone with Sadie close by. While Ralph adores Lisa, he is still getting used to Sadie. It’s not that he doesn’t like her; he’s just not accustomed to being with a cat. Sadie has similar feelings towards Ralph. However, she is fascinated by Ralph’s face and the snorting sounds coming from his nose. Lately, when Ralph is curled up on his bed snoozing, Sadie ventures outside Lisa’s office and watches him closely. Ralph does not intimidate her, so she walks over to investigate. Just yesterday, he woke up as she was staring at him from a few paws away. They both were startled; Ralph began to snort and Sadie flew across the room, landing in a pile of Christmas ornaments not yet up on the tree. Fortunately, nothing broke.

Lisa is an accomplished baker and this year is making holiday donuts called sufganiyot. She wants to get them just right in time for Hanukkah, so she has been practicing. Sadie sits atop a stool in the kitchen and supervises. Ralph assists in the holiday baking by standing close by to catch any ingredients that fall off the countertop.

Now it is the end of another day. Everyone is in the living room. Miles is sorting through Christmas decorations. Ralph is admiring his own likeness on the tree. Lisa is watching the holiday classic Frosty the Snowman with Sadie in her lap. A few hours pass; Ralph and Sadie must have dozed off. He wakes up to find Sadie curled up next to him. Sadie wakes up too, opening just one eye. This time, however, she doesn’t scoot off. They look at each other. Ralph snorts. Sadie purrs. They each think to themselves…it’s going to be okay. This is our family now. Blended. Mixed, Cat, Dog, Tree, Donuts. It feels right. Ralph and Sadie don’t move; they go back to sleep.

Happy Holidays!