THE CAT

Andre Evans
3 min readAug 18, 2019

She looked at me with her all-seeing eyes. Somehow she seemed to know that I had forgotten to buy cat food while I was out. She jumped onto the kitchen counter and saddled up to the large grocery bag I had just put down. The brown paper crackled and crunched as she leaned into its sides, trying to smell the packaged foods. She purred and shuddered when I rubbed her head. I would have to go out again. I didn’t even have a spare can of tuna or scrap of rotisserie chicken. Goddammit, I thought. God doesn’t want me to be sober. That, or this cat doesn’t either.

I went to the bathroom and turned on the hot water. I looked into the mirror and studied the eyes of the face that stared back at me. I looked at the pockets beneath them that seemed to be full of something. I followed the rounded lines from my forehead down to the sides of my mouth. Before my self-survey was conclusive, I cradled some hot water and splashed it on my face.

I went back to the kitchen and put away the groceries. The cat was purring even louder now and was lying down sprawled across the counter. Her eyes opened and shut every few seconds while she hummed. The thought came to me that the cat was either narcoleptic, practicing transcendental meditation, or starving. I resolved to get her some food. I would get her some of the canned wet stuff that her mother hardly fed her and I would get myself some beer. It had been a couple of days and that was good enough. It was late in the evening and I didn’t see how it could hurt.

I looked around for my keys and tried to remember where I had set them. I checked all reasonable places first and then I checked all the usual oddball locations. No luck. I figured they must be out in the truck. I grabbed my jacket, shut off the kitchen light and went out into the brisk night. I opened the truck door and got in. No keys in the ignition. I sometimes left them on the seat so I felt around underneath me and then in between the sides of the cushions and on the floorboard. Then I checked on the dashboard and finally behind the visor. I was loosing it. I realized that I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast and as a result I was jittery and anxious about where the damn keys were. I put my head down on the steering wheel. God, please let me find the keys.

As I walked back inside the house my eyes adjusted to the moonlight falling in from the skylight in the kitchen. Light flooded the counter and made a hazy, luminous spot on the empty grocery bag and the cat. She hadn’t moved and was still purring in a rumbling, rolling drone. I stared at the scene for a moment. I felt myself drawn to it, as if it was the light from the coils of a furnace. I got closer and leaned down to rest my upper body on the counter, next to the cat, half of my head in the moonlight and half out. I rubbed the cat’s coat and asked her if she knew where my keys were. She purred louder than before and shuddered again and made a noise that sounded like a squeaky sigh. Then she twisted her body so she lay on her back, exposing her belly and uncovering the big skeleton key that served as the centerpiece of my keychain. The bulk of the keys were still under her back and I wondered how she could possibly be comfortable. Then it occurred to me that I got comfortable in odd places too.

I flicked on the light and pulled a can of clam chowder out of the cupboard. I got a jar of pickles from the fridge. I asked the cat if she would rather have that combo or some scrambled eggs. She purred on. Ok, I said. Ok.

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