In the beginning, she would retreat to this space and would not emerge until the visitors had been gone for hours or until I had left the house after subjecting her to the trauma of being loved. Over the past year, the time she would spend beneath the bed has shortened, until lately, her retreats coincide with the hours a visitor is in my house. Within moments of that visitor leaving, she will emerge, happy to be part of the household once more.
Lately, she has not even retreated to her safe spot after being held. Instead she has simply shaken off the manhandling and watched me warily from across the room, uncertain whether I will attempt to ruffle her dignity again.
I wonder where another year will take us. This process has been so slow, earning her trust. When I sometimes get impatient, I remind myself that one year ago, her claws would come out every time I touched her and two years ago, she hid from me pretty much 24/7. I have this fantasy where one day, out of nowhere, Skittles will just jump up onto my lap and nudge my hand, ready for some attention. It could happen. So long as she's with me, I'll hold out hope, and even if it takes another ten years, that's all right because in the end, my sweet, skittish, little Skittles is definitely worth it.