A cat that won my heart with its disloyalty. 535 words
To the best of my knowledge, no one actually owned Tom; he just chose to hang around our house because we would feed him; probably out of misplaced duty or habit. In return for our generosity he repaid us with distrust and contempt.
Tom would not allow anyone to touch him, and it became a bit of a game to see who could get closest before he ran away. We would slowly crawl on our bellies across the grass toward him; using the kindest and gentlest voices we could manage, but as soon as we reached our hands out he would invariably hiss and dash away. Looking back now I think he was merely toying with us.
I was short for my age, wore glasses, and had a placid nature; making me an easy prey for the crueller kids at school. Mostly, I treated their abuse with the contempt it deserved, but every now and then it would really get to me, and one afternoon I returned home in tears. The house was empty and there was a note from my Mother saying that she was out shopping, but she would be home soon.
Feeling miserable and dejected, I sat on the back doorstep and started crying. Moments later I saw something approaching me. Drying my eyes, I focused vaguely on a cat. It was Tom. He stopped, checked around for something, then came a little closer, and stopped again. Finally he climbed up steps and stared at me curiously.
Though tempted to try and pat him, I knew he would just run away, so I kept as still I could manage. He slowly sat down and leaned his body hard against my left thigh. I continued watching him in awe, and I was almost certain I could hear him purring, but that could just have been my imagination.
Finally, temptation got the better of me and I inched my left hand toward him. Then in a moment of unprecedented vulnerability, he actually allowed me to lightly tickle the top of his head. My heart warmed and the bitterness I was felt toward my bullies dwindled.
Seconds later, the sound of the front door opening startled him. He hissed and raced back down the steps to the safety of the trees, that lined the far side of our section.
Time drew on and he reverted to his own ways. Then one afternoon he did not show up, or the next, or the one after that. I was told he must have found a home elsewhere, but I knew, deep down in my heart, that he had passed away. It’s strange how one can become so attached to a creature that has only ever returned your affection once, yet I remember just much his death affected me.
We had other cats but none seemed to have quite as much impact as Tom. Our only moment of bonding was very brief, yet as they say “it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”