Behind Blue Eyes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
If your life is a wreck, and you're not sure what to do next, get a cat.

Submitted: January 21, 2015

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Submitted: January 21, 2015

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Jessica didn’t even like cats.  When the last boyfriend moved out without warning, he left a pile of unpaid bills, a 1973 Plymouth Roadrunner up on cinder blocks in the carport, and Theodore.  Jessica got $500 from the wrecker guy for the car, and paid off the bills.  That left the cat.  She wasn’t hard hearted enough to call Animal Control.  She knew what would happen to Theodore after five days.  When the cat rubbed against her leg, purred, and looked at her with those strange blue eyes, she accepted the fact that cat food was going to be on her shopping list for the foreseeable future.

She didn’t know the half of it.  Once you let a cat in your life, it’s a matter of time before they are in control.  First it’s the cat food.  Next, the scratching on the head and the rubbing behind the ears.  Most cats stop once they’ve trained their master to let them in and out of the door every few minutes.  But not Theodore.  He must have thought he was a dog.  Because he trained Jessica to take him for walks.

After a year or so, people stopped noticing the young lady walking through the park with the cat on a leash.  They’d seen the unlikely duo almost every day.  Jessica and Theodore were quite a pair.  Jessica had long blonde hair that contrasted with the black leather jacket she wore when the weather was cool.  Theodore’s fur was as dark as Jessica’s jacket.  They were made for each other.  Or, as Theodore would have put it if he could talk, Jessica was made for him.

Jessica began to enjoy the daily walks more and more.  The rest of her life was complicated.  The job sucked, rent was too high, and she was lonely.  But when she and Theodore made their rounds, all of that went away for a while.  Despite her worries, Jessica greeted everyone she met on those walks with a smile.  Theodore walked with his tail straight up in the air, with a little curve at the end.  That let everyone know that he, like Jessica, was happy when they went for their walks.

After a while, Jessica got to know the park regulars.  There were the joggers, the drum line and the disc golfers.  And the odd young man that sat on the park bench, feeding pigeons and squirrels.  He always had a sack of bread or crackers for the animals.  She knew him from school.  He was that autistic kid, Billy Watkins.  A good looking boy, but in all the time she’d known him, she’d never heard him speak or even seen him make eye contact with anyone.

Neither Jessica nor Theodore paid much attention to Billy as they walked past him on their daily jaunt.  But he noticed them.  He knew she was that nice girl from school, who always ended up with assholes for boyfriends.  And he thought Theodore was cool.  Billy imagined what it must be like to be covered with fur, and to be able to climb up trees.  He wished he was a cat, not a young man trapped inside an autistic brain.  He wished he was a cat, with an owner as pretty and friendly as Jessica.

One morning Jessica awakened to the sound of rolling thunder.  The weather report called for storms all day.  Jessica was surprised when Theodore started meowing at the front door.  Wet weather was just about the only thing that ever interrupted their daily walks.  It doesn’t matter how cold or windy it is, but cats don’t like wet.  Surely he didn’t want to go out in this mess.

She was saying, “No, no, no, no” in her best baby talk voice as she bent to pet the begging cat.  And pulled her hand back quickly when Theodore hissed and swatted at her.  Jessica watched the tiny beads of blood form on the back of her hand.  Theodore was serious, he wanted to go for his walk.  Against her better judgment, she put on her raincoat, and Theodore’s collar.  The two headed out in the storm.

When the pair entered the park, the rain started falling harder.  They hadn’t passed a single person out in the rain, only people inside cars.  Jessica assumed they would have the park to themselves, who else would be crazy enough to be out in this weather?

But when the bolt of lightning hit, the last thing Jessica saw before everything went dark, was the outline of someone sitting on the park bench.

She wasn’t sure how much time had passed when she woke up.  The rain had stopped.  It was quiet.She was lying on the ground, soaking wet.  Theodore was gone.  Jessica sat up, and saw Billy sitting on the bench.  She got up slowly, and walked toward the bench.

Something was different about Billy.  It took Jessica a moment to realize he was making eye contact with her.  She’d never seen him do that before.  She’d never noticed he had blue eyes.  Or black hair.  Forgetting that he was mute, she asked him, “Have you seen my cat?”  She was astonished when he spoke, for the first time in his life.  “Theodore went into the storm.  He’s somewhere else now.”

Jessica felt herself slipping into shock.  This couldn’t be happening.  Tears started flowing out of her eyes as she said, “Billy, I don’t understand what is going on.”  The young man stood, and held out his hand to her.  He said, “Why don’t the two of us go for a walk.  And from now on, you should call me Theo.”

EPILOGUE

Lisa sat on the couch and waited for her boyfriend.  By now, she was thinking he wouldn’t be coming back.  She’d end up having to do something with the broken down motorcycle in the garage.  At least she could get a few bucks for his guitar at the pawn shop.  She hadn’t figured out what to do with the cat yet.


© Copyright 2017 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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