talking to a friend in my living room while my husband dries off after a shower in the bathroom.  i need to get something in there so i squeeze past him as he’s wrapping the towel around his waist, reach for the item and return to the living room without shutting the door.  i wonder if this is awkward for my guest.  or if she thinks it’s awkward for me.  then i remember that we’re married and that my friend probably thinks that it’s normal for us to be in each other’s very personal space.
the truth is i find him disgusting.  his perfect baby soft pale skin, no muscle tone whatsoever.  he’s well-proportioned, but no.  gross.  he looks like i could press my finger into his arm and the indentation would remain.  he finds himself much more attractive than i do and plenty of women would side with him.
i realize that jasper isn’t in the apartment.  we have to go find him.  i tell him so and he agrees to help easily enough. we go outside and look across the water at an island.  once again it’s a Mojave Desert type place.  one large orange-brown mountainy structure rising straight up. a man rakes on the wide, even, plateaued top creating some sort of sand garden.  orange desert-land surrounds the huge structure in the water.  inky black silhouettes of men in cowboy hats row between the mainland and the island on something like mini viking ships minus the sails.
when we get to the island, we go inside the mountain.  it’s a museum of sorts, a home packed full of art.  all the wall space is covered, all the furniture painted and carved.  we go in a circle around the inside of the natural structure twice.  my husband says that jasper isn’t there.  but he is.  i know he is.  we just didn’t look in the right places.  i tell him we have to go around again.  i start looking closely at the art.  one of them is a painting like Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait.  but it’s an african woman in a pink dress with a huge black afro.  i’m stunned by her beauty.  i sit in a nearby chair just to be near her, her picture hanging to my right.  it feels good to be in her presence. i look straight ahead and laugh at the cozy scene of a fireplace painted on the stone wall.  maybe he’s not here, i think.  where would he be? what would he like? i look up at shelves on the wall and wonder if he would be higher up than we have looked.  but then i look down and to my left to think some more and i see him, he’s sleeping in an open dresser drawer.  his orange fur looks red in this dim place.  i shout that i have found him.  i’m so happy i feel tears in my eyes.  i jump up and run to him.  i pick him up and hold him against me.  he’s so warm with sleep that it burns my abdomen to hold him against me, but i love it.  i press him against me tighter.  my fire in the belly.  so good to be reunited.