Short Story 14
I’ve had plenty of relationships that seemed like they’d work on paper, but in practice, they were a bad idea. Not just dating either, normal relationships. Friends. Animals. Nothing seemed to work out. That was just life I suppose.
Instead of bothering myself with attempting to create these connections which had grown an unattractive air I spent most of my spare time reading. An archaic performance most chose to ignore or generally replace with television, internet videos, and video games. I was the sort of person who buys books used and then finds a corner of my house to veg out and pretend the world doesn’t exist until I have to go to work.
This strategic life plan worked quite well for me. It didn’t seem to matter to people how social I was or at least no one expressed their concern or worry for my greater mental health and it certainly wasn’t because I didn’t want to have any friends or go anywhere… it was that these life options didn’t pick up… my options.
So, the diffuser set with only the most gorgeous woodland smells, ambient rain and rustling leaves in the background, the soft hum of my air conditioner and a warm blanket over my arm. I took my place with a fresh cup of tea on a fluffy sofa near the curtained window lit by a string of ambient lights. This was my vacation. I did this every summer. Keeping track of book sales, library sales, and general book sales anything to gather enough books for my one-month vacation reading till I dropped.
And then in a perfect moment, when I opened my book and hunkered back, the power went out, taking with it everything other than the heat from my cup. Calling the power company, I learned that the high winds had taken out an old transformer in my area and not to worry, because the power would be back within six hours.
My mood completely ruined and my tea now cold, I wrapped a cardigan tightly around myself and decided to go for a quick walk to take my frustrations out on the wind that had ruined my day. The sky outside was dark and gloomy, the heavy blowing breaths of the sky moist and ominous. It was unfair that my beautiful summer plans were being ruined on the first day.
A tiny sound came from a bush at the front of my yard. I wasn’t sure if I heard it correctly and then it came again. I don’t really know why, but I found myself going toward it. The wind bellowed, I felt like a child on a blacktop fighting to see how far they could walk against it. Kneeling beside the bush, I lifted a branch to expose a cat covered in mud looking disheveled. Its meow changed to something beseeching.
I could see in the mud near it something red and in a reflex, I took off my cardigan and wrapped them up to prevent them from hurting me. Running into my house I got my keys and purse, locking the door I went to the garage. Before I knew what I was thinking I was driving down the road as the sky was turning a horrid gray wondering what I was doing.
The cat moaned in the passenger seat, forcing me to forget my confusion. I needed to find the nearest vet clinic. I had never had animals before, however, I was relatively good at remembering my way around, so it didn’t take me more than ten minutes to find one. They took it away from me the moment they saw it, cardigan and all. The rain had started shortly before we arrived, and thanks to the force of the down pour I had to sit in the waiting room soaking wet.
It wasn’t too long before a general examination room was open and I was ushered inside to wait. After a few minutes, I returned to the lobby getting myself a cup of coffee from their instant coffee machine. It was nothing special. In fact, it was watered down more than I would prefer. I returned to the examination room holding my breath.
When the vet entered, he explained that the cat that gotten itself caught in a strand of wire. Its leg should be fine, but it would need antibiotics and attention while it healed. It would also need to come back in for a checkup next week. When I explained I wasn’t the cat’s owner he went on to tell me that the cat had no chip and no tags, but from his behavior he had probably belonged to someone at some point.
He. The cat was a boy. I asked how old he was and was told he was only a few months. I agreed to take him home with me. He sat dulled from all the medication fed him calm and drowsy through the whole drive back. I locked him in the bathroom before going to the store to pick up the things he would be needing. Deciding I had an obligation to contact the local shelter the following day.
That night he slept well and the following day he took his medication without much help from me, his little black spotted face giving me a handsome thank you along with a rub on my hand. Before lunch, I submitted a picture to the local shelter and a description of his personality and general appearance. For his ease and recovery, I applied to be his foster owner through the process and as I had no animals and made good enough money my application went through easily. I was also told that after fourteen days I could apply to adopt him.
This had all happened so fast. I wasn’t sure what to think as I drove home. He was asleep when I entered waking when I came to check on him. His meow was soft and welcoming, his yellow eyes smiling at me.
That night we agreed that he had to have a name for me to call him by and as I didn’t know what his other name might have been we agreed that Momo would be the best choice, because he was a peach. Momo insisted on being with me that night. I moved his home from the bathroom to the kitchen, he didn’t like to be closed in.
By the end of the first week, he had improved to near perfection and was already sleeping on the right side of my bed. His second appointment went by beautifully. He was given a clean bill of health. On our way home I bought him a cat tower for near the sliding glass door and a few toys. And that night, I pet him and prayed no one would call to take him.
I began to dread every time the phone would ring. I would stare at the number and then at him. He would smile and seem to tell me not to worry, but I always did. He was my first friend, not counting my family of course. I knew that if someone called, I would have to let him go. I would have to say goodbye. But I didn’t want to.
We ticked down every day. I bought books on diet and care and read them in my usual spot with Momo sitting on the armrest near me. I threw his mouse and played with him using feathers on a string. We ate beside each other and toward the end of the last week my phone was filled with his pictures. And every day my heart grew sick thinking about letting him go, about saying goodbye.
The phone rang. I knew the number and even if I didn’t it was written on my phone. The shelter was calling. My heart palpitated as I answered and the word, ‘Hello’ slipped past my lips.
“Hi, I’m Cristin calling from Forest Animal Shelter about the cat you’re fostering.”
My head hurt with every beat. I could hear the drumming in my ears. “Yes, what about him?”
“Well,” There was light static on the other end as if the person was typing something or moving papers, “It seems his holding period has just ended, he will be eligible for adoption tomorrow.”
“I want him.” The words fell from my mouth so fast I almost bit my tongue trying to articulate them.
“Yes, I want to adopt him, if the owner doesn’t come.” I rubbed my lips together staring at the one in question who was lounging staring out the back window.
“Of course, then I will put a hold on him for you, however if you don’t come before twelve tomorrow, he will be available for general adoption.”
“That’s fine, I’ll be there when you open.”
I’ve had plenty of relationships that seemed like they’d work on paper, but in practice, they were a bad idea. The day I adopted Momo, he broke the cycle. That first day when he became a part of my family, when I bought his tag, and promised I would keep him a prisoner in my house for the rest of his life. Momo freed me of the sad reality I had sunk into. It seems almost strange to say it, but he’s my best friend, and when I look at him and he smiles, I can’t help smiling back.
Thank you so much for reading everyone!!
Prompt Sentence: I’ve had plenty of relationships that seemed like they’d work on paper, but in practice, they were a bad idea.
Special thanks to Estremera from Unsplash for the use of the image!
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