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The Cat

The Cat

Painting and Story by Lehan Winifred Ramsay

This is a little story about moving.

I moved to a town for the third time. And for the third time I did not bring a cat with me, though the second time I took one. I thought I would go back for him, but now he is in another place that I left him, and he is dying.

He has cat cancer. I should have gone for him a long time ago but I didn’t have the resources to do that. I got an email asking me to go to him, but I didn’t have the resources to do that either.

It was a long time that I knew him; he is maybe nineteen years old now. This is the town that he was born. Did he want to be here when he died? Would he have preferred to be with me when he died? I don’t think that he would have cared.

Somebody picked him and his brother up off the river bank, down south in the town, when they were very small. If you go down to that particular part of the river bank you’ll find cats that look just like him. If I were free to behave in the way I would like to behave, then I would be going down to that part of the river bank looking for another kitten, or possibly two more kittens, to bring home, that’s what I think the moment of him dying means. But I am no more free to do that than I was to jump on a plane and fly to his deathbed.

There is an orphanage in Vietnam, that I visited once, that I made a promise to; to try to come up with a solution to a problem they had. It is a promise I haven’t been able to keep as yet because I haven’t figured out what the solution could be and I don’t want to give them a solution that doesn’t work.

And there are one or possibly two kittens on a riverbank just south of the centre of this town to whom I feel I have an obligation.

These are my most important obligations, at the moment, though I may never manage to fulfil them. They are not important for any particular reason. I think that I should have much more significant obligations as my main obligations, if I am going to have any. But I don’t. One is a promise that I thought was important, and the other is my grief, which I have suspended temporarily.