Was it you?

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Was it you?
That cat.
The black one, with white all down one side
that found me on Buccleuch Street
and followed me halfway home.

It must have been.
It had your composure
and that same way of walking
step by premeditated step
never a crisp foot out of place.
It watched me, silently
trying to look otherwise occupied
but never really managing it.
That’s how I knew it was you.

It was good to see you.
I’ll admit, I was a bit bemused
for one thing, when I knew you
you wore old cardigans instead of fur
heels instead of paws
but then you never could keep warm enough
and you always said your feet hurt
so maybe a cat suits you better than human
but you used to speak
and cats don’t
so I missed that.
Still, it was good to see you again.

I’ve seen you since as well:
that same cat in the garden,
pretending to be on the hunt for birds
or outside the library
doing its best to look lost.
Now that I’m wise to you
I see you often
mostly in the evening
and always when the streets are empty.

I’ve been meaning to tell you, though
I don’t think I need your help any more.
The first dead mouse was kind of adorable
in a disgusting way
but more than that,
it was a little patronising.
I’m grateful, and I do miss you
but I think I can do this on my own
and I told the cat this
in no uncertain terms.

I saw the cat only once after that
one morning, very early
as I rushed down the sleeping streets to catch a train.
For the first time, it let me stroke its ears
and then it was gone
which I’m taking to mean
that you’ve moved on now.
Well, thank you
and if ever I need you again,
I’m sure next-door’s tabby knows where to find you.

***

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons. Photographer: Evelyn Simak.

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