I loved her as was
natural for anyone in a similar relationship. After all, we two were
homologous, were similar in origin, if not in kind. My only regret was that I
nearly messed up her surprise party.
Purple Cat was about to
turn ten. Ten is an important birthday. Its the first of a lifetime of
double digits. I had to mark that event, somehow. I almost chose
Cats sister and I
plotted. Cats mom emailed menus to me. I reminded her mom that Purple Car
hated hummus and that Cats granny had promised to make baked chicken
salad and a luscious chocolate cake.
My main jobs were
inviting guests, which meant our entire class, and distracted Cat during the
hour between the end of school and the party. Sally Marie almost ruined
everything when she whispered, far too loudly, in the same part of the
playground in which Cat and I were playing Fivestones, that Naomi Tabatha was
sick and might not be able to make the party.
Fortunately, Cat was so
invested in picking up leftover jacks and in saying horses before
carriages loudly enough for her words to count, that she missed that
revealing remark. Not only did she not hear the spoiler, but she also won that
game. Truth be told, I never mastered double bounces.
Anyway, despite my
pulling on Cat to engage with me in window shopping, we got to her house too
early. I couldnt help it that I found hardware stores and shoe emporiums
interesting and that she didnt.
A perfect afternoon, to
Cat, was curling up, after finishing all homework, of course, with a library
book, and a cup of ginger & mint tea. Her having me perched with my own
reading, on the spare bed in her room, enhanced her experience. We were great
friends who engaged in all sorts of fun together. We just didnt talk
remembered that I had forgotten my umbrella at school.
Reluctantly, Purple Cat trudged the long blocks back with me. When we arrived,
the building was locked. Ill never forget the look that she gave
When, at last, we
returned to her home, we were sufficiently late. Cat opened the door. The
greater portion of our homeroom, her sisters, her mom, and her granny all
Much eating and singing
later, the last of the guests were picked up by their parents. Cat and I went
to her room; Mom had already given permission for me to sleep over. Mom had
also supplied the partys quickly consumed tower of rainbow sprinkle
First, Cat and I threw
pillows at each other. A little while later, we completed our homework. After
preparing for bed, we snuggled under our respective blankets and opened our
As I fell asleep,
glasses still on my nose and library book opened to somewhere in the middle of
a story, I thought about the idea that had been proposed by Cats younger
sister. Brenda had wanted to hide Cats boots so that Cat couldnt
leave the house to go to school. Their mom had nixed that idea, though, since
Cat had to be away from home for the party to be a surprise and since
good girls didnt randomly cut class.
Cats happy celebration took place decades ago. Both Purple Cat and I
married, raised families, and enjoyed grandchildren. My husband died first,
then hers. It was her idea that she should become my roommate.
My grandkids loved her.
Whereas my knees were wonky due to problems I had with the arches in my feet,
she was still able to get down on the floor and play with them.
Whats more, even
after I conceded defeat to those rare, purple-eyed, silicon-based Komodo
dragons, and even after I elected, instead, to seek out blue carbohydras, Cat
carefully documented my adventures. She posited that my publisher needed a
record of how I teleported from the safety of my doubts to the nether regions
of my mind's eye.
These days, I am
without my beloved Purple Cat. The nurses on my floor are adamant that I stop
fabricating my life. They tell me that I: am on the ward as a
charity case, never married, never had children, and never had grandchildren.
I was a waitress, not a
writer, they claim. I grew up in a lower class neighborhood, where twin beds
and cake-filled birthday parties were the stuff of imagination. Further,
according to them, in elementary school, I never had access to a
Most days, I regard
those uniformed wardens as filled with gilded, cockamamie, foo-foo. Other days,
Im grateful that theyre present to fluff my covers, refill my IVs,
and open my blinds enough to let the sun in.
It would be really sad
if they were right that I had not lived a life of letters, or, that if earlier,
I had not had a best friend named Purple Cat. Ill have to
consult with the scented geraniums, with which my younger daughter generously
gifted me. Those flowers speak the truth.