Such a Good Boy
My name is Shanequia, and I have a story to tell you. You won’t believe me, but I swear on a stack of bibles that every word is true.
The day started with cool, crisp temps like any other fall day. Leaves were bursting in maroon, orange, and saffron. Not a cloud in the azure sky.
It was a Monday, my errand day, and I had just finished grocery shopping. I was wheeling my cart to the car and parked it in such a way not to hit the vehicle while loading groceries in the back after opening the trunk. An older lady had sidled up next to me and said.
“Be careful starting your car because I saw a kitten run under.”
“Oh, poor thing. Thank you,” and after finishing loading everything into the truck. I got down on my hands and knees to peer underneath. Sure enough, a tiny black kitten stared at me with gold eyes. The little fur ball looked no more than ten to twelve weeks, still a baby.
“Here, kitty, kitty.” I put my palm open up so the wee thing can smell it. The baby surprised me by head-butting my hand before loping towards me and into my waiting arms. His soft little head fit under my chin as he curled trustingly against my chest.
His purrs indicated how safe he felt with me as I held him close to my body. He stayed on my lap during the entire trip home, where I laid him on the couch while I brought the food in. Afterward, I entered the living room only to find him sound asleep on a knitted lavender blanket.
My mind raced about keeping him or taking him to the shelter. Ultimately, I decided to keep it as I didn’t want that cute little face locked in a shelter or maybe being put down later.
No, he was staying.
Now to choose a name. Since it was close to Halloween when I found him, and because he was solid black all over. “Salem” seemed like a great name.
“What do you think,” I whisper to the sleeping baby lying curled in a ball. He didn’t seem to care, so Salem it was. Opening my laptop, I went to Amazon and ordered cat supplies; litter, a litter box, food, and a litter pad.
I might have gotten carried away with the toys. Fifteen minutes later, my wallet was much lighter, but I had ordered everything I thought a cat needed.
Salem was such an intelligent kitty, too. He understood voice commands as he grew and mastered walking on a leash. I was a little nervous about how fast he grew, concerned that he might have a health problem.
Doctor Donovan told me Salem was healthy, although he grew faster than most kittens. At six months, Salem was twelve pounds without an ounce of fat. Donovan thought he might have some Maine Coon in him. Those gentle giants can get up to twenty-five pounds, so the vet said not to worry about him.
He was healthy and well-behaved. Such a good boy, Donovan said, rubbing Salem’s head. He was, too; everyone loved him and greeted him during our walks to the park.
Everyone except Edwin.
Edwin was my on-again, off-again boyfriend. It seemed he was my boyfriend when he felt like it and ignored me the rest of the time. I must admit that at first, it bothered me until Salem came into my life. Now, it didn’t faze me.
This is probably why Edwin suddenly came back into my life, calling me and bringing me flowers and little gifts. I can’t believe he was jealous of a cat, but he was. We didn’t fight before Salem.
It might seem weird, but I think of things now as ‘before Salem, and after Salem.” Before Salem, for instance, I would never argue with Edwin. He didn’t like it when I disagreed with him, and he would punish me.
After Salem, I didn’t care if Edwin liked it, and when he tried to ‘remind’ me of my place? Salem let Edwin know what he thought about that. A loud, deep howl rose in a crescendo, emitting from his ebony chest.
Edwin lowered his hand and glared at him before returning to me.
“That cat needs to go.”
I thrust my chin up in defiance. “Salem stays,” I said quietly but firmly.
My heart fills with pride at my furry protector, noticing he is on full alert. His attention centered entirely on Edwin. He was watching his every movement.
I look back at Edwin, and my following words shocked me as much as they did him. If you can go by the disbelieving look on his face.
“You will go before he does.”
Without warning, Edwin turns back to Salem simultaneously, pulls back his left leg, and kicks him hard. I watched in horror as his body sailed through the air before slamming into the living room wall. His body slumped to the floor, unmoving.
I screamed and leaped onto Edwin’s back, punching, biting, scratching. As if from a distance, I heard him cussing.
“You bitch! I will teach you a lesson you will never forget!”
Backhanding me, I fell backward to the floor myself. I felt the blood trickling from my upper lip and touched the tip of my tongue to the blood. Licking it away, avoiding looking at the couch. My poor baby. I wanted to cry, scream, curse at the heavens for my loss.
Edwin reached down to grab me, muttering he needed to retrain me, as I had forgotten who was boss.
At that moment, a huge black streak leaped on Edwin, and I heard him screeching. I regained my feet and looked over at the figures fighting, and I swear one of them looked like a panther. The panther gets knocked off by Edwin, who then turned and ran toward the door.
The large cat fast on his heels, and then I hear an earth-shattering cry of terror followed by deathly silence. I strained to listen to what was happening in the next room, but nothing at first. A soft munching sound filled the silence as if someone or something was eating bones. Once again, it goes quiet.
I mustered what little courage I had left and hesitantly crept toward the living room. Peering around the corner, I saw Salem calmly sitting on the southwestern rug, cleaning himself. The only sign of Edwin was a little blood spot and a piece of tattered clothing lying on the floor beside him.
He’s such a good boy.