I lay awake that night, staring at my ceiling. The tears had stopped but my face was still wet and I was only beginning to calm myself down. I missed him. He was my first loss and I couldn’t help but be upset when the house was so quiet and still and empty. I tried to think of something else, about tomorrow. Things I needed to do, things I wanted to do. I let my mind wander.
As I daydreamed, my door creaked open. His paws came up onto the mattress and he began kneading and pulling at it before jumping up as was his routine. He began pacing the bed. Walking circles around me. I reached out my hand idly, lost in my own thoughts, occasionally petting him as he went by. Eventually he settled himself across my feet. He was warm, soft, and vibrating with his contentment. It was a while before I noticed something important. Something I had overlooked as I had daydreamed. My face was still wet. The one that I was crying for, Mitty, my cat, was dead. He’d been hit by a car and had been injured so badly, Mama had him put to sleep. But if Mitty was dead, what was lying across my feet?
I lifted my head slowly, suddenly afraid. I looked at where my feet made bulges in the blankets. There was nothing there. As soon as I’d looked the purring had stopped, but I still felt pressure and warmth on my legs. I slowly began to pull my legs towards myself. At first the pressure rolled across, but suddenly it lifted itself before I could fully remove my legs. Invisible paws raked through the sheets and I heard a thud and retreating footsteps. I followed the sound with my eyes and watched the door shake a little as the invisible cat pushed its way through the small opening. As soon as the door stopped shaking the sound of paws padding ceased.
I sat in my bed, staring with confusion at the door for a minute before throwing myself from it and opening my door wide. It was my kitty. I was sure of it. Maybe I just hadn’t been able to see him in the dark room. I looked up and down the hall. I hadn’t heard retreating paws from my room so I stuck out my hand to pet him expecting to find his head somewhere near my door. My hand met nothing but open air. I felt the hot tears welling up in my eyes again. I looked down the hall towards the kitchen and saw his treats on the cart. He always comes when you shake the box. I picked it up and began to shake it. I wandered the house calling his name. Each room I entered empty and quiet. No cat came when I shook the treats. Eventually I gave up the search. I returned to my bed and started crying once again.
I didn’t tell anyone what had happened. I didn’t want Mama or Daddy to worry. I wasn’t sad anymore, or scared.