17 November 2007

Lost Love

He hadn't spoken to me in eleven years.
We met in January seventeen years ago. I don't remember it being cold, but it must've been because I wore my oversize coat. I was in eighth grade and patches of clubs and honors littered the sleeves of my jacket. It was a week or so after Christmas, and I was mourning the loss of a family member--a car accident on Christmas day.
Dozens filled the room I walked into, but he picked me out straight away. Before I knew it, he was on my shoulder. He was no bigger than the palm of my hand.
It was a match.
He purred all the way through his flea bath, through the massive hair dryer that fluffed him, through the car ride to his new home. We named him Oreo. I don't know why, seeing as how he is all black, but Oreo fit, and Oreo stuck.
Oreo was born on October 31st, the lady at the shelter told us. A black cat born on Halloween. Throw in a broken mirror and an open umbrella, and we'd be set for life.
When we got home, we gave him the dish that belonged to Nonny before he died on Christmas day. Before Nonny, it belonged to Buttons.
Oreo slept in my bed--often under the covers. He sat on my lap when we watched TV, but when I left for college over eleven years ago, Oreo couldn't forgive me.
He greeted me with hisses and a twitch of his tail. If I came too close, I walked away with scratches up and down my arms.
I spent the last few days at my parents' house, where Oreo lives. He doesn't leave their bedroom now. He's grouchy and old and crotchedy. He's a curmudgeon. He and the dog don't get along. In my parents' bedroom seeing the new furniture layout, Oreo came out from under the bed and meowed. Like I have so many times before, I held out my hand for him to come sniff.
He did.
And then he stretched out in front of me, inviting me to scratch his belly.
He purred.
After over eleven years, Oreo and I reconciled.


Jeanne Damoff said...

Nice story, Heather. And well told. Glad you and Oreo worked things out.

Jenn said...

Some would say "just a cat," but it feels like this was pretty meaningful to you, as I think it should be. I'm glad it happened.