Throughout my travels, I've met a lot of people and from that, a few friends. Sometimes they're human. Often, they're cats. But before I was swept up in the wanderlust, I had a friend close to home. His name was Clovis.
He was the neighbor's cat from across the street from my childhood home. I frequently saw him sitting on his front porch, watching life happen from the shade of his seat. When he grew tired of sitting, he would trudge back and forth on the driveway, batting at the invisible ghosts every now and then. Though I was fond of cats, I never crossed the street to say hi, fearing I'd have to meet the neighbors. I'm antisocial.
One wintry day, though, as I walked out to my car, I saw Clovis sitting underneath. Maybe it was the heat from the cooling engine, or the high ceiling that my SUV offered. He sat there, unsure of whether to run, looking like he'd much rather keep his newfound comfy spot. I walked up beside the tire and squatted, holding my hand out. Slowly, Clovis crept out from beneath and sniffled the tips of my fingers. I pet him.
From then on, he became a familiar sight, the tenant between my tires. For housing and pats, he would provide me with his itchy neck and hyperallergenic dander. My daily schedule was regular enough that we'd catch each other daily as I came home after work. He'd lounge on the neighbor's porch, casually swatting his tail back and forth. As I pulled up into my driveway, he'd saunter across the street to greet me. After two pats, he'd plant his face into my driveway and start rolling around furiously, as if my pat incited a intense, burning itch within his back.
It's been several years since I moved away, so Clovis is likely a long-whiskered sage by now. I still see him lounging on his porch when I visit my parents, but it's pretty seldom these days. I wonder if he misses the sanctuary of my car, though I'm sure he's off to bigger, brighter ventures. Those birds won't catch themselves.
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