This morning I was brushing the cat as I watched the rain come across the water towards us. She is a Siamese and smooth-haired and like me quite old, and her fur is not as strong or as resilient as it used to be, but she arched her back with delight and raised her head so that I could reach her throat, the most vulnerable part of her. And seeing her respond like this to the strong smooth strokes, I could see myself in bed with one of the lovers, and my own arching and offering, and wondered, when I had finished with the brushing, whether she felt as I had when it was over: not just brushed/fucked but glad, even grateful, to have been brushed/fucked. In other words, was it only the moment with her, or was there a reflective pleasure as well?
The full text of this article is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.