My pesk, my stray cat

My story is about a darling stray cat, who arrived suddenly with a meow for company and food, and we gave in too easily, must have wanted the feline company. So the cat got the cream.

The brief encounters in the afternoon sun were a delight with a game of chase the lavender stalk and pretend it’s a mouse, and some friendly scritchies under the chin in passing.

And then the regularity and expectation set in. The caterwauling at the window, seeking to get in. The house is out of bounds. We close the windows to an un-catsized crack, and keep the door swung-to. No fleas allowed.

We sleep in and raise the kitchen blinds to see the cat staring gauntly like a statue set in stone. I let the breeze in, and the cat comes to life stiffly, then clambers across thin hibiscus branches to a whisker’s breadth of the window. Meowing all the way, in a why-have-you-taken-so-long manner.

I reach out through the cramped space and we greet affectionately, face shoved into knuckles, and itchy scratches under the chin…

Until the cat’s eyes narrow and fixate on the windowsill, its whole body elongating to reach for the tiniest entranceway to our home. It pushes the fond hand away. It wants to get in.

I close the window.

The meowing starts again, as it spies out the eggs sizzling on the stove.

Narrowed eyes on my every move. A cup of something with cream… It’s mine! Says the Cat.

I do not want the responsibility. I do not want the regularity, of 6am feedings, and settling for the night. I want my freedom, to travel, unencumbered. Says I, while imagining myself curled up with a warm purring cat by the fireside.

My kids pick treats from the hip-high fridge, and open the back door. The cat bounces and dances along its network of hibiscus slackropes until it leaps from the tree and with bolt-upright tail greets them with back-arching vigour and enthusiastic wail.

The cat got the cream.

(I handed it out the back door, willingly, call it pity if you please. It is such a pesk, it reminds me of me…)

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I see an open window!

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Bouncing the slackrope, careful, balance…

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I SEE YOU! Here I come!

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Meeeooow! What’s for breakfast?

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