Story and Painting by Lehan Winifred Ramsay
When I first moved to Hokkaido I tried to keep my cat inside the house, it was very cold, he was very upset to be moved. But he got out of the house and I couldn’t find him, I looked for two days and called him. On the afternoon of the second day I heard him crying, and I found him up in the machinery of a big truck parked across the road, next to the rice vending machine.
The truck had been gone all the day before, it had returned from its work that afternoon. My cat had crawled up into that truck and it appeared that he had stayed in that truck while it drove all the way to the middle of Hokkaido and back. Did he really do that? Or did he crawl in later when it was warm and he was cold. I don’t know, but I always thought that he travelled all the way to Hokkaido and back in that truck, that’s what I like to believe.
Anyway, he was in his later days a staunchly unidiosynchratic cat who woke me up almost every night we spent together and who would occasionally vomit in the bed at three am, which in the winter was particularly unwelcome.
But he was also measurable in years of days of ordinary life. There were many of them, ordinary days of being, together. He was a cat, and I was not, and I would not be surprised, nor blame him, if he found me uninteresting and if indeed he considered me at all. I think I would be lucky if he did. That was his privilege, as a cat.
He was a cat, and one of the blessed thing about cats is that they are fine company. He was a bit ornery and cranky too, and in wanting to believe that I could manage – to carry him through my own travails – I lived a life way beyond my capabilities. And maybe that was good too, I’m sure even a cat likes a bit of independence sometimes. He found his own patch of sunshine, much more efficiently than I did.