January 8, 2020
I enter the fast food emporium and see a line ahead of me that stretches around the store. I have never seen it that busy and realize everyone is clutching a coupon that was in today’s mail. I judge the line of families wanting multiple subs, and then there are the kids not sure of what to get. After three minutes of standing very still with no movement in the line I decide to go to another location.
In reality I should have changed my plans at that point being coupon day, but you have to understand Steve and I have been basically on a soup diet for weeks being sick, and he craved a sub. So when someone is asking for food that isn’t liquid or warm you do your job.
Arriving at the other location there was still a line but nothing like the one I had first encountered. So I decided to suck it up– and be patient, as Steve would do the same for me.
An extra employee comes out from the back and stands by the cash. He rubs his eyes and looks like he just got up. He then adjusts his company headgear and runs his fingers through the long locks of his hair many times. Am I seeing this right? Should I clean my glasses? NOOOOOO! Please do not touch the condiments please; I plead silently in my mind. The very efficient young ladies process the line very quickly and I am about to checkout with no coupons, unlike everyone else.
Suddenly….Silence…Cash Register opens..Employee looks at cash register and scratches his head.
I suddenly ask myself if he knew how to make change as the change machine was down. I mean, no one is take cursive writing anymore, and I ask no questions about everything else going on in school. Everything now is a possibility.
Change machine is definitely broken and employee has a difficult time with a key and lock. By this time I wonder if I am ever going to smell fresh air again, or even worse–Steve may never see the light of day of his requested sub for his supper hour.
After success with the lock and key the proper change is given. Or was it? Frankly, I was so frustrated I never even looked. The sub is finally delivered and as I drive home I think about all these clipped coupons. Coupons are not income, and coupons exist to get you to SPEND your money at their establishment when the thought had not even crossed your mind. Was tonight’s excursion really more trouble than it was worth?
At home I sat silently and kept sipping my hot soup hoping to combat illnesses and ease symptoms. I was enjoying the tartness of the tomato soup with tiny Ritz crackers and made a note to self. Was there any was nobility in cutting those coupons today to save 50 cents? After all I already had a wallet full of expired ones I have forgotten to use. I suddenly realize I am overthinking everything again. I don’t really need this—-plus I don’t have a coupon:)
The Strange Tail that Came at Dusk–August 3rd, 1997
On August 3rd, 1997 at dusk I met a furry stranger on my porch. It was twenty years to the day that my sister Robin had died at the age of 40. Was this a coincidence?
The cat jumped on the railing and stared out at the birds that were still chirping in the trees. Turning around, he looked at me and meowed loudly. For the next fifteen minutes he sat quietly like nothing else mattered in the world. As I talked to him like I would any other living thing, his eyes blinked slowly while I spoke. He jumped off the railing and followed me when I got up to go inside. Stopping at the door, he turned around and left as quickly as he had come.
Every day after that, at the exact same time he just seemed to find me. He expected nothing, and I slowly grew to love him despite my allergies. One afternoon I told him a story about why I was cautious of strange cats. Peering at me closely, he looked like he was actually listening to my every word.
One weekend I had to look after a neighbour’s cat when they went away. I was excited to look after their pet anticipating all sorts of “rub against the leg” love. When I walked into their apartment and called him their cat peered at me from the kitchen doorway.
I went into the living room to water their plants and noticed the cat had moved to another doorway and was still eyeing me. It was not the first time I had seen him so I thought it was playing a game with me.
Thinking nothing of it, I went into the kitchen and opened a can of food. Within a very few seconds I felt something like sharp needles on my legs. The cat had attacked my back legs and his claws were actually glued to me at that point and I was going nowhere without a furry body hanging on me.
Trying to shake him off my tights, his claws dragged down the back of my legs until he hit the floor. Blood was oozing everywhere and I ran out of there faster than felines after a can of tuna. The next few days that I fed him I walked in with a cardboard box around me for protection. When the neighbours came home they had a good laugh when they saw the tattered box. I on the other hand, was nursing sore scratched legs and very fearful of their cat.
So after I finished telling the strange “porch cat” my story, he looked at me with a Cheshire cat sort of smile, and gazed out at the street. He did not seem to have a homem, nor did he ever leave anymore.
Sometimes I would see him stretched across a small hill of sand in the corner of the yard or sleeping in the garage. He seemed to know I needed him and was always around. Then as quickly as he had appeared, one day he just vanished into thin air.
I never questioned why he had left as one really owns a cat. I smiled and thought that maybe I had been followed for weeks by a strange moon shadow– maybe one that I missed very much and was still watching over me from above.