Before I tell you the story suggested by the title, I have to tell you a different story. (This is, of course, a Southern thing. Telling a story that requires previous information, so you get two stories for the price of one really long one.) Anyway . . .
A little over a decade ago, Handsome and I bought our house. And within a month or so, we adopted two kittens from the local animal shelter. We had only intended to adopt one, but these two were hidden away in quarantine, cuddled together, shivering. They had never adapted to human touch, and were practically feral. Well, there was no way to take the one and leave the other lonely and cold. We took them both. (Also, I have SUCKER tattooed on my forehead.)
They hid under our bed for the next six months.
Well, they finally realized we weren’t so bad for humans and that the food was acceptable; they would keep us. They came out to play. Racer, the brother, was gregarious, mischievous, and affectionate. Trixie, the sister, was timid, quiet, and sweet. They were polar opposites and perfect companions.
About a year after bring them home, they were playing out in our back yard – the sum total of their not-so-large territory. That evening, when I called them in, Racer never showed. We haven’t seen him since, though we searched and searched and searched. Hopefully he found another loving home with a couple of kids that love him. Hopefully.
Our hearts were broken; we grieved that cat for years. Sometimes still do. Always turn our heads when a black cat walks by. Just in case.
Now I told you that story to tell you this one:
This weekend, Trixie was meandering in the back yard while we fired up the grill. She’s still timid and never strays far; she comes when she’s called and meows at the back door if we’re not paying sufficient attention. At some point in the back-and-forth between the kitchen and the grill, we lost sight of her. This happens regularly and is no big surprise. She’s usually around the corner of the house investigating the AC unit.
But not this time.
We searched high and low, inside and out. No cat. We called and called. No cat. Handsome walked the block searching for her. I climbed a ladder to peer into our neighbors’ yards. No cat. And that’s when the panic set in.
I tried to keep my cool. But inside, I was screaming. Not another one; my little heart won’t survive losing both of them.
To console ourselves, we reminded each other that she’s wearing a collar. Our neighbors are kind. We’ll get a phone call. Eventually. For the moment, we ate that precious grilled meal.
And then . . . two hours later, we hear her cry at the back door. I grabbed her up, held her to my heart. And finally lost it. Crying into her soft fur, muttering “stupid stupid cat. You are grounded forever, you dumb animal.”
That was Saturday.
She has been more quiet and subdued than any time in her life. I doubt her little cat brain comprehends the anxiety we suffered at her temporary disappearance; but she’s behaving as though she does.
We think it’s just a ploy to sweet-talk her way out the back door again. She’s probably got a secret boyfriend.
At least she’s spayed.