The Last Amazing Cat (me and my shadow)

The Last Amazing Cat

Of the four amazing cats I’ve known in my life, Shadow was coming right along, dark, mysterious, named by my daughter, and delighted at staying draped across my shoulders for hours. He enjoyed playing hide and seek. I would hear his call from some other room of the house. I would call for him, but he wouldn’t come. He would wait for me to discover him in the liquor closet, under the bed, in the laundry room out of reach atop a pile of clean towels. It was sort of a parlor trick he would play when friends came over.

Another of his many wonders when he wasn’t hiding out waiting to be found was coming from any number of directions when I called him in the backyard. Just a few “Shadow Shadow Shadows” and he would meow back and come leaping down from a tree across a neighbors fence, or scurry out from under the ivy in the far corner, or run down the wooden slide of the rotting kid’s swingset that came with the rental house.

He also liked to cuddle with the ancient dog, Scrambles. I would find them when I returned from work, wrapped around each other under the covers of my kingsize bed. A bed that was a little bit lonely on the weeknights when my new girlfriend stayed at her house.

I lost Shadow in a freak accident. My girlfriend had moved up our timetables and bought a house for all of us, even my two children, to come live together. It was an amazing and loving gesture that would unravel only two weeks after we all moved in. In the first demonstration of her inebriated rage, my girlfriend, then fiancé returned from an afternoon of volunteering for a local musician’s health charity. She was tired, hot, and irritated that the afternoon’s beer buzz had dissipated and left her here in “her” beautiful house with us. She cut the internet cable and slammed the door on the way out somewhere to refresh her drink.

We stayed there for nearly a year. The old dog died. Shadow got more fabulous. She got more bitter. On the day I moved out, to my mom’s house, we agreed that she would keep Shadow. A few days later I got a call from the shelter that he’d been turned in. His microchip gave away his new hiding place. I told my kids, who had returned to their mom’s house, and they both said, “We’ll take Shadow.” I jumped in the car with a smile on my face heading out to find him.

He had been given to a family that morning. I still have some videos of us playing hide and seek in the rental I had before I moved in the nice house with my ex-girlfriend. It was not a house of love or laughter, but Shadow did his best to entertain all of us.

Read more Short-Short Stories from John.