Nissian Material Semiotics: Part 1

by Justin Makii

Day 1 Introductions:

With a swift turn of the key followed by a heavy metallic clank the door opens, and it is as if expecting the three of us Nissa sits, staring upward, poised at the center of a circular mat.

The child reaches out and embraces Nissa, all the while the cats eyes firmly fixated on the new guest.

Despite the playful, yet warm, embrace of the child, the cat’s eyes followed me as I entered the doorway, transfixed on this new stranger, this new guest.

Crouching down, but staying some distance, I was able to let the cat’s curiosity explore my extended hand.

At first with a cold wet nose, but soon followed by two or three cheek rubs.

Running my fingers over the cats head between its ears, the sensation of a purr was felt followed by Nissa rubbing up against my leg.

No more than three embraces and the cat trotted out the front door, no longer distracted by strangeness or stranger.

Descending the staircase into the basement I was greeted by a cozy looking double. Setting my bags next to the bed I sit at its edge and collapse into it soft, cold, wet, wait…what?

What is the cold and wet thing my elbow has found itself in?

A gray slug? No, upon closer inspection a mucousy hairball. A gift from Nissa in anticipation of my arrival.

How does one communicate appreciation for such a welcoming gift? How does one show acknowledgment with undertones of dissatisfaction toward one’s feline caretaker? I suppose I can start by fetching some paper.

Surfacing from the basement in search of paper, I could hear the rapid tapping of the rain against the windows and roof. Focus, there is effectively a gray regurgitated slug in your bed. Grabbing some TP, I headed back downstairs. Flicking the light switch back on my caretaker freezes mid-step.

Our gazes meet. Seemingly caught in the act, my four legged feline friend bolts for the back door. Wanting to console and let Nissa know it is okay, I pursue casually. As soon as I turn the corner, the crashing down of the plastic pet door grabs my attention. I take the three steps to the door and look out the window searching for my feline caretaker. Surely she didn’t just dart? Looking left then right I search for any trace. I follow the contours of the hill back down to the entrance of the door and look down. There, with her head pressed against the plastic door trying to gaze through the opaque opening, my motionless feline friend stood poised, looking for any clue whether to run toward the forest or through the gate. With the rain pouring on top of her she looked pathetic, she looked afraid. Quickly realizing this, I took the three steps back and set to the task of cleaning my gift off of the bed.

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