My favourite person that I see on my walk everyday is a cat. It is black with white socks and it holds the tip of its tail protectively under its front paws.
It usually has a visitor – someone cooing or petting or just standing nearby looking. One day a dog is looking and wagging its tail while its owner stops it getting too close. The cat cares not for these visitors, but they all revolve around the cat anyway.
The cat sits in the sun next to a bubble tea shop in front of the wall of a house I assume it lives in, though perhaps not. Cats claim things as their own regardless of true ownership, so the wall is the cat’s now.
There are only four regular characters on my walk. The cat, a man who wears chinos and shades and I always think will be one of two people I used to work with but always turns out to be neither, and two cycling children.
The children are an older brother and younger sister. They look sort of the same age gap as me and my brother and I think it’s nice that they’re allowed out on their own even though he only looks ten or so. Me and my brother used to cycle on our own to the park in holidays, but that was in the past which as we all know was safer than the present.
One time I pass them at a crossing. They are waiting patiently for the green man but I stride straight into the road before chastising myself for being such a bad influence. Though disobeying pedestrian rules is cool to a kid so it’s possible they think I’m a rock star.
The first time I saw them they were with their dad actually. We kept crossing paths at traffic lights – the kids always up ahead, the dad on foot behind. Eventually our routes aligned and I fell into step with the dad.
The children arrived at the cat’s bubble tea shop a block before we did. By the time we got there they were sitting down on either side of the cat, petting and cooing. The cat was unaffected. It would allow them to sit on its street and soak up some of its sun if it had to.
The dad stopped and I kept walking and the dad said who’s your friend? and for a second I thought what? no! we just keep intersecting our routes! and then I realised of course he wasn’t talking about me. He was talking about the cat.
A version of this post was sent by email on the 6th September 2020 as part of Internet Care Package – a weekly memoir project in the form of a newsletter. It also includes links to the best things I’ve found on the internet each week and occasional updates on my theatremaking. This blog is a select archive of those emails. Subscribe to get them right in your inbox.
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