Sunday, November 2

The Stray

[Second in a series]

I was never really supposed to have had a cat. It just worked out that way.

I was living in an apartment complex in Midvale that didn't allow pets. Of any sort as I recall. But there were always stray cats around. BabyDoll was one of them.

I'd seen this youngish cat around my building since the summer of 1989; it was always friendly enough to not run when I'd walk by. Sitting on the curb around the parked cars, even meowing a hello whenever I was near.

I'd see her mostly in the daytime. I wasn't working standby back then; when I got home in the evening, I was there to stay until morning. I didn't go out much after dark so I never knew she was there. I guessed in the times that I saw her that she was being "kept"; maybe being let out in the mornings and again let in, in the evenings.

That summer was hot. Really hot. And so as to get out of the oppressive heat, she'd lay on the landing a flight below my apartment. One such day I left a bowl of water for her and the bowl would be dry by morning. I bought some cat food at one point and left it out for her, but that didn't last long; the bowl was removed one day and that was that. But I still offered water from time to time.

Through late summer and into early fall, there were times she would follow me. Right into my apartment at one point. She was a great conversationalist, always listening to everything I said. And interjecting a well-placed mrawr when appropriate. And when she'd had her fill of my commentary, she'd go to the door and wait to be left out.

Late fall became winter and as oppressive as summer was, winter was just as bad. Temperatures were going down. Way down. By early January temps were approaching the twenties, and on one fateful night, it was in the low teens.

At the time, the complex was in a quiet strip of Midvale on the east side of the valley. Really quiet, the building was far enough off 13th East that there was virtually no road noise. So when something went bump in the night, you actually heard it. So when a screeching sound started from downstairs and reaching a crescendo, it seemed that much more amplified. The word caterwauling was made for this sound.

It was fairly obvious what the ruckus was about, but just to be sure, I opened my door.

At warp speed, and a blur later, she rocketed up three flights of stairs and into my life for the last eighteen years.

1 comment:

Jennster said...

Hehe that is a cute story! Animals always have a purpose for being in our lives, whether we know it or not :)

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