Charlie was my familiar for more than 14 years. As he grew older and more content to stay with me when out of the cage, he’d sit on the chair arm as I read, or he’d quietly investigate the papers on my desk while I typed. In his last year, he especially liked to sit on my keyboard. Something about the keys must have felt good under his aging feet, or maybe he just wanted to be seen. I didn’t mind. His thereness sustained me; it mitigated my occupational loneliness.
Christine Fischer Guy is a Toronto writer and journalist who was recently awarded a fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She won a National Magazine Award in 2012 for her profile of Métis activist Chelsea Vowel, and her short fiction has been published in Canadian, American, and British journals. Her first novel, The Umbrella Mender, appeared in 2014. She contributes to the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hazlitt, the Hamilton Review of Books, and the Globe and Mail.