My neighbor Rachel has this black cat named Mina who used to hang out with me on my back porch all of the time. She’s an outdoor cat and is the type of feline who acts as happy to see you as a dog. Any time I was outside reading or smoking, she would jump in my lap, kiss my nose and demand a head scratch.
She always seemed to know when I was sad, too. If I was crying about Brian or stressed about school, she would appear out of nowhere with a snuggle, mewing as if to say, “It’s okay. I’m here now.”
She even stopped by on the last night I lived in this house, a little over five years ago. I’ve only seen her once since then. We have coyotes and even a hawk in our neighborhood, and I used to hear animal fights in the distance every night. So I assumed that she wouldn’t last too long out in those woods.
However, last Friday I had called Jen to tell her about my dad’s worsening condition. We had put him on hopsice almost two weeks prior, but because that circle of friends was preparing for a wedding, I didn’t tell anyone. But a week after the wedding, I felt like it was time to let her know.
I could barely say the h-word without choking up, and as she comforted me while I tearfully explained the situation, I heard a rustling in the flowers next to the porch.
Then, for the first time in five years, “Mew.”
And before I could look up to confirm it, Mina was in my lap, rubbing her cheek against my cheek, and pushing the phone away from my ear with her paw the way she used to, demanding all of my attention. “It’s okay now. You don’t need anyone else. I’ll take it from here.”