A few years ago, my ex and I had five cats and a dog living in our apartment. They belonged to her sister and were named Hanna and Linus. Both were clumsy little beasts that destroyed more than their fair share of things in our abode. They partook in a fun game called "Let's Stretch While Pulling Apart Window Screens With Our Claws." This game created a hole in the front window screen of our apartment. My apartment is on the ground floor of a brownstone, so the hole faced the street. Last Saturday, April 22nd was a warm one and I had opened the window a bit, but it was open a bit too much.
At 8 am on Sunday, Murph the dog barked, which he rarely does. Sometimes, if the neighbors kids are playing out front, he'll give a shout that they are too close for his comfort or too near a window. In my sleepy haze, I just assumed that was the case and returned to sleep. I was wrong. It seemed as Murph had been sending a warning that something was wrong. Commanche had slipped out the window and started to explore the neighborhood. I woke up at around noon and noticed my little man wasn't in bed with me as usual. I searched the apartment, thought about the earlier circumstances and pieced it together. The little fucker went out the window. Had gone away. The curiosity of the outside land, which he hates and makes him nervous as hell, had been too much.
I began to canvass the neighborhood and asked the old Jamaicans on the corner if they had seen a black cat. They had at about 8 in the morning when he tried to enter their house through a window. They shooed him away and away he ran. That evening, Favorite Librarian and I posted Lost Cat notices on nearby lampposts and poles. We walked around calling his name to no avail.
Monday rolled around and along with it came the rain. Man, I'm talking about rain in buckets. The kind of rain seen in horror movies, or movies about deep Southeast Asia. It looked like a monsoon and it was fucking cold. All I thought about was my little dude stuck in that shit, scared senseless and too afraid to come out of some terrible rat-infested hiding place. I went tot the bodega. nothing. The barbershop. Nothing. Mr. Brown's ragtag video store. Nothing. In the rain, wind blown and awful, I walked around and shook a box of Cat Chow, calling his name, my voice becoming more and more frantic as I circled the block. After a while, soaked and despondent, I returned home to sit by the front window in case he made his way home.
Alas! At about 11:45, Mohammed from the corner bodega shouted my name from the street. He then tossed a pebble at my window receiving an A-for-effort moment to catch my attention. I opened the door and he told me he thought he found my cat. I ran out and followed him. Amazed, as I truly thought the guy was a goner.
All the way in the back of the store, huddled between the toilet, a small sink and a cluster of maps was Commanche meowing incessantly. I grabbed him and brought him home as quickly as I could. Sadly, he didn't escape his neighborhood adventure without an injury and he had a small limp. It still exists a week later, but he is doing better. Oddly enough as well, is that he know has one, just one, grey whisker. Something about the ordeal must have scared the shit out of him. The 11-year old cat just must have aged a lot in one day.
Now, he just looks at the window he exited from and doesn't sit near anymore. He just looks at and seems to be thinking, "What the fuck was I thinking?" My thoughts exactly.