The Tuesday evening before Christmas, Sylvester the cat had the desire to cross the street. Being a demanding, yet subtle type of animal, he had no idea of stops or starts, of the cares or dangers that came from without. He wasn’t foolishly trusting – but he was full of the concept of his feline ability, and the respect it demanded.
So – predominantly black, he took a jaunt on a black winter’s night: a small, leisurely silhouette that was too distant from the moon’s warning illumination. An aged gentleman, he moved with the ease and gentility that befitted a cat in its teens.
A neighbor saw the car. She heard the bump, even the delicate crushing of bones. She carried his body to his owners – who later made her a card, in gratitude for her goodness and pity: a photo of Sylvester with a pair of angel’s wings drawn on.
Days before this darkest evening, Mother had told me that when she was petting Sylvester, he suddenly broke out of his transcendent purring to stare at her. It was the type of unnerving, unblinking, depthless gaze that would make a person stammer his answers. Did Sylvester have a premonition of his shattering end…was he asking if Mother would save him? Or did he only want to know if she would miss him?
Months ago I had written a post introducing Sylvester. I mentioned his daring curiosity, his grace and his boldness. I mentioned how he lived up to the adage of feline bravado: that a cat can look at a king. I know now that he curls at the feet of royalty, wrapped in the smooth heat of velvet robes – warm in the metallic light of golden crowns.