There are people who love cats, like me, who have been around cats most of their lives and gain a spiritual sustenance from them. And then there are people who immerse their lives in cats, surrounding themselves with them and with the knick-knacks associated with the feline world.
I pass a little brick duplex on the way to work nearly every day. For a long time I never gave it a second glance. Then I began looking the unusual on my daily commute; after all, this was an older neighborhood and houses built back in those days had a distinct, unique look. I noticed the cats ornament on the side of this house and as the days passed I paid more attention to it. I realized that the ornament had a aged look to it – rust creeping in from the edges. I noticed the little items on the window sill, and the decorations hanging in the windows. Cats. Lots of them. The more I noticed, the more curious I became. Everything looked old – really old. And I never saw any signs of life – no real cats in the area or in the windows. No humans either.
Whoever lives (or lived) there, clearly loved their cats. If you look closely at the photo above, you can see no less than 10 cat related decorations in and around the windows. That’s just the side of the duplex.
I wonder about the person living there. I picture a little old lady, hunched over as she walks slowly from room to room, now living alone, whose years have disappeared behind her and left her with just this small house, and these little items adorning it. Items that, like her, are slowly decaying, eating away the time left. Her real cats are long gone but yet she’s surrounded by the memory of mewing, purring, affectionate felines. Her priceless friends. Life is dwindling now – she’s past even the autumn of her life and is simply living with her memories. A fate that awaits many.
I’ve thought about knocking on the door, meeting the person who loved cats, but my vision of that person would no doubt be shattered by reality. I prefer my melancholy, endearing view. But, driving by that house everyday is now an event I look forward to. Will I see someone there? Some sign of life inside those dark windows? Melancholy. It’s really the only term that describes the feelings generated its appearance.
One day I’ll drive past and the ornaments will be gone, the house swept clean, to be replaced with some young couple just starting out, dreams and aspirations fresh in their heads. Their future will be wide open. Will they make the ‘right’ decisions in the coming years? Will they move up in life? Will they develop an affection for animals?
Will they love cats?