The cat was always looking for
an escape from the daily grind
of eating kibbles
and drinking from the toilet
before laying in the sun
coming in through the curtains.
He wanted to feel the
cool March evening
shiver down his back
while he bathed himself
by the light of a moon
waning like his future.
When the landlord propped the door
to dolly in the new washing machine
a voice in the cat’s small head
purred the feline equivalent
of carpe diem
and he ran into the unknown.
The plants in the flower beds
were still wilted and brown
in the not-quite-Spring dusk
and there were cars passing by,
their sounds and lights frightening him
into the dead-looking bushes.
In the decade since he’d last
roamed the Mid-Atlantic wilderness
free from human oppression
his survival skills grew dull,
sharpened only by the occasional
chase after a pointed laser beam.
Fear and panic shook him,
made his yellow-green eyes dart
quickly from the rustling leaves
to the slam of someone’s car door
and his only pressing instinct
was to run.
He kept to the bushes
staying undercover as best he could
and moved forward, ever forward,
without any idea of where he was
or what might be waiting for him
in the gathering darkness.
The smell of the other cat
caused him to stop moving
and made his claws
push out from their sheaths reflexively
as ready to draw blood
as the recently clipped can be.
But the other cat was friendly
and brought him to
the attention of some people
who began to pet him
and call him by his name
which they had seen on his collar.
And then his own people were there
holding him and cooing and
kissing his forehead and
lavishing him with praise
like they hadn’t done
since their children had arrived.
The desire for freedom
still moved within him
but it was now tempered by
the memories of his brief
anxious foray through the door
and away from the comfort of routine.