My parents live back a series of gravel roads in the lower foothills of the Appalachian mountain range. Their next door neighbor is a country song come to life. He lives in a trailer. His wife left him. His dog died.
To make matters worse, his son and his son’s wife had been living in his trailer. He started building a barn-like structure behind the trailer for them to live in once their baby was born, but after the birth of their child and associated domestic squabbles, both left, leaving behind a half-completed structure and five cats.
Not being a man familiar with the concept of house cats, he has done the best he could, setting out boxes with straw in them, and placing food out for them regularly. However, the cats are left, as cats often are, to wander freely wherever their feline desires lead.
The other weekend we went to visit my parents, and while we were playing around their house, Miranda discovered the joys of perspective. She would run near and far, yelling to ask us if she looked bigger or smaller from each new place.
This commotion attracted the attention of one of the cats, who crossed the field between the houses and began to rub against Miranda’s legs. Now Miranda loves cats, and to have a cat that actually wanted to play with her was a dream come true. She and the cat spent the afternoon playing hide-and-seek around my parent’s house. She even got down on the ground to be more like the cat. My dad found some old dog treats in his house (a story for another day) and let Miranda give them to the cat. Miranda had the time of her life.
But, all good things must come to an end, and eventually it was dinner time. The cat was left to return to its wanderings, and Kelly made sure Miranda washed her hands extra well.
While we were eating, the cat found its way to the glass door by the kitchen table, and began meowing and clawing at the screen door. It wanted its new little human friend to come back out and play, but it was already late and we had to be up early the next morning, so the cat was left without its playmate.
The next morning I got up at six. I went to the kitchen to get a cup of water, and the cat jumped up outside the kitchen door. Finally, the humans were awake and its friend would come back soon, but it was not to be. As we were loading our car for a trip into Pittsburgh, the cat jumped into the driver seat, and had to chased out by Kelly. We left, hoping that the cat would realize that Miranda wasn’t going to be around that day.
While we were away, the cat decided that it had found a new home, and bedded down under the steps to the kitchen door. My dad chase the cat out, and blocked off the space under the steps. When we returned late that night, the cat was sleeping under my dad’s truck, and jumped into the back seat next to Miranda when I opened the door. I pulled the cat out, and we went inside.
Unsurprisingly, the cat was still outside the house the next morning. We went to church, and the cat was waiting for us when we returned, despite the weather having turned rainy. The cat was still there when we returned again late that evening.
The next morning it was time for us to head back home, and cat watched from under my dad’s truck as we pulled away. That cat is still at my parent’s house, pining for its little friend, over a week later.