I got home early enough today to offer to walk with my mom, D. She takes her “sports car,” a 3-wheel walker out around the block in our downtown residential neighborhood. We set out in the sunshine, me trying to walk slowly and Mickey, following us with those blinky eyes that mean, “I love you,” in kitty language.
“Yeah, I love you too, Miaow, but don’t follow us.”
Mom was cruising around the corner house and Mickey was on that neighbor’s lawn, clearly delighted to stroll with us. We stopped. D was ready to sit on the wall. I decided to wait Mickey out, using cat distraction psychology. The traffic on William was afternoon intense, and when a large yellow school bus revved up from the stop sign and lumbered by, the big machine noise shook Mickey. Having lived with a crazy gun dealer before I got him, big noises unnerve him. I took advantage while he was off beat and made a snarly sound, which wrapped his kitty nerves way tight. I know, mean.
“Okay, D, let’s roll,” I said. And we started down the block without the black and white cat who acts like a dog. At least I didn’t have to go put him in the house – insulting to one who thinks he owns the block.
When we turned the corner, D was glad to make it to the house with a wall out front. We were met there by the woman who owns that house and she asked D if she wanted a drink of water. Which was friendly code to reconnect. In the summer D would stop there daily and the woman’s son, a very nice nine year old, would give D a drink. I’d only heard about this kindness and was happy to meet P.
D and P commented on why they hadn’t seen each other in awhile, besides the rainy season. The woman had injured her back in a camper and D had spent two holidays in the hospital with congestive heart failure. Now it was spring and we joked D would be jogging by as soon as she got her pacemaker.
During our neighborly rambling talk, the P referred to my cat.
“Yes, that’s Mickey,” I explained and proceeded to recount the story of how the cat came back to the house I bought, and why I was afraid the seller if I could have the cat during the house buying deal. Another story.
“Well, you know,” she said in her forthright manner, “that cat used to be mean. He attacked me once. He was bad. But now that he is with you, he’s nice.”
I had to agree the cat had rough edges when I got him and understandable. It took awhile before Mickey bonded with me. But now he’s very affectionate. “He needed a lady, like the grandma on the corner who raised him. He’s happy,” I agreed.
We bid goodbye and D and I made our journey around the city block. As we headed to the bungalow, the faithful watch cat was waiting on the porch rail.
“Miaow,” I greeted him. Eyes blink, blink. Uncurling himself he came down the steps to greet us. And begin bargaining for a treat, which is a ritual when I arrive home.