She bragged, but never said a word. She was a cat, after all. But like all felines, she was touched with pride, she walked softly for worship and carried her beautiful history with disdain. Humanity had forever been nervous before a cat's silent and fearsome dignity and had tried to appease her with fabulous things: blankets embroidered with diamonds, so she could both rest and gaze on her many faceted beauty; cushions full of clouds harvested from the brightest sunsets; meals served on golden plates thriving with exotic embellishment. A cat's feminine contempt was adored.
I thought of these things when I saw her, a crouching icon, black like onyx, like Victorian mourning velvet; shining like crushed jet. Clearly she was waiting; wondering, in fact, what had taken me so long. She looked at me with eyes of imperial jade, ceremonial objects stolen from the tombs of emporers, taken from the mouthpieces of opium pipes and polished into an opaque glow, untarnished by gold or amber.
She let me tickle and pull her ears; she was very patient. Then she began to walk. She didn't run – either away from me or towards some more promising object – but she moved with a definite purpose. I followed.
When she had reached a neighboring house, with its walls painted green, she stopped and looked at me. Eyes and background matched perfectly; she was quite aware of this stunning comparison. She stared at me as if to say, "Look at me. Am I not beautiful? What do you see in my eyes? Oceans tossed in ribbons of sage and olive? Do you see deserts, where my likeness was carved into the pyramids, and mocked from the hieroglyphs? Look at me. I drove Poe to gothic madness. I slept on Muhammad's coat. I wore harnesses of ice and crystal and pulled the chariots of Norse goddesses. Popes denounced me, yet the daughter of Ra was my protector. Am I proud? It is my right: a family of lions is, after all, called a pride. Anyway, that's all I have to say. You may go now."
And with that, she leapt into the overhanging shrubbery and walked amongst the Byzantine branches with the leisurely, silken grace of a panther. I watched her until the shadows reached out and enticed her into their green depths.