I was walking down a summer path in the late afternoon when the wind blew through the trees. The leaves were barely hanging on as the woods became full of movement. Then I noticed a bright orange patch of hair that didn’t belong; it was moving too, up the trail and away from me. It stopped and then it started again.

I followed, intrigued by its bright colors, drawn to it with unquestioning will. We walked into a clearing together and that’s when I realized what it was; a cat, but unlike any cat I had ever seen. It looked at me with penetrating eyes, and I stared back, startled.

“What are you looking at?” I asked.

It smiled, turning its head, walking on, and I sat down on a nearby log and watched, as it pranced, seductive, with uncommon style.

My lonely apartment was waiting for me and I must’ve been absent in my thoughts, because I didn’t see her, until she was sitting next to me. Purring.

“Hey, give me space,” I said.

She looked up with desire or some kind of love; perhaps I was missing that, and projecting my fantasies onto her.

“I wish you’d go home with me,” I said. And she rubbed her head against mine. I sat there for at least an hour, while she waited. My apartment didn’t allow cats, but I wasn’t big on following the rules.

I got up and she followed. I thought, if she gets into my truck, I’ll take her home, and that’s what she did. She was annoyed at my radio and kept looking at me. When I switched it to classical, she relaxed. Cats do as they please; they’re independent, so I had no notion of locking her up and I think she understood that.

She followed me up the steps to the third floor of my apartment and entered. I was expecting a date in a couple of hours and needed to prepare dinner. She was amused at my fumbling and bumbling. I could cook only a couple of things really well, and I had lost weight as a bachelor. When my date arrived in a black dress, she began talking about her girlfriend.

“She’s seeing a guy, but she doesn’t love him.”

“Why does she date him?” I asked.

“He has a house.”

“Oh. I don’t know if that’s a good reason to date someone.”

“Well… she’s a single mother and she needs someone to take care of her.”

“Oh, well aren’t there programs for that?”

Our conversation took a turn for the worst, until she yelled at me, “You’re a misogynist and I know you don’t have permission to have a cat in your apartment. I’m telling your manager!”

I didn’t believe it, until I heard a knock at my door. It was the skinny assistant, sniveling, and not one who wanted conflict; everything was passive with him.

“Do you have a cat?” He asked.

“Not really.”

“Well, she’ll have to go.” He entered abruptly and walked into my bedroom.

“Oh, I’m so so sorry! I didn’t know!” And he left, very embarrassed. I walked into my bedroom, noticing the cat there.

“Strange, I wonder what that was about.” I got ready to go to sleep and told her to get off my bed. She slunk away, dejected, like I had hurt her feelings, and she curled up in the corner.

“I need to name you. Samantha. That’s your name.” And she was pleased, falling to sleep, purring deeply.

When I went to bed, I dreamed I was lying next to a beautiful woman, sensual, and desperately in love with me. When I woke, I smelled something delicious. It was a mushroom omelet with French toast. The only thing I could think of was that my mother let herself in, and left to run a few errands. She was always putting her nose where it didn’t belong, especially when she tried to investigate my love life. She was disappointed that I hadn’t found a good woman, and she reminded me of my friends who had succeeded.

“Joel is doing very well for himself,” she said. “He found a good girl. You know, you’re not getting any younger.”

“Yes mom.” I ate the eggs and watched Samantha purring on the stool next to me. She didn’t look hungry and I noticed dirty dishes stacked in the sink.

“My mother fed her; that’s what she did.” Samantha could let herself out of my apartment through the cat door. I went to work and called my mother.

“Thanks for breakfast, mom.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You didn’t make me breakfast and feed my cat?”

“No. Are you alright, Andy?”

“I don’t think so mom.”

“Well, your father and I are coming over this evening at 7 PM. Don’t you remember?”

“Oh, I forgot. We’ll be bringing plenty of food, so you don’t have to cook.”

Okay, sounds good. I love you.”

“You too, bye.”

When I got back to my apartment, Samantha looked irritated, like I had left her too long.

“Hey, somebody has to work,” I said. She smiled, purring. And then I thought I heard something, like distant words in a different language.

To Be Continued…

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