Lena felt a kinship with Lily Bart — cloistered in her parents’ flat among the dusts of Al-Khobar, the taste of life was indeed stale. Though her surroundings did not match the lavishness of Miss Bart’s, the dull domesticity and boredom were intimately familiar to her.
When she, the cat, deigns to sleep in my lap, I am overcome by an obsequious delight that should embarrass me. But it is not my fault. Centuries of sycophancy to these creatures have shaped my behavior.
Traditionally, any interest in the body beyond that as a functioning machine has been considered nonconformist. When it breaks down, they mend it up with plasters, elixirs and capsules, send it on its way.