Greg hides a dark event in his past, something he rarely talks about. In the spring of 2003, I lived in a cute little apartment in Urbana, Illinois. Greg lived in a house across the street, so he often stayed over at my place right up until I was going to bed, and then he headed home. On one particular night, he set off a chain of events I would not learn about until the next morning.
The sound of a desparate cat woke me at about 6 a.m. This is incredibly early by grad-student standards. Will someone pleeeease let that cat inside? What is wrong with that owner? Let the cat inside already! I figured the cat belonged to my neighbor. I was desparate to fall back asleep, but I couldn’t ignore the whining feline. After 10 or 15 minutes, the cat stopped, and I started to drift back to sleep.
Then my doorbell rang. When I opened the door, I found a young woman with a hopeful look.
“Is this your cat?” she asked, pointing to a brown and black cat sitting underneath my window. I stared at the creature, blinked hard, and then looked again. The cat was big. He had a white tummy. He looked an awful lot like Winston. I glanced back into my apartment and didn’t see Winston anywhere.
“Yes,” I said, tentatively. “I guess that is my cat, but I have no idea how he got outside.”
I grabbed the desperate creature and hauled him inside, feeling utterly ashamed. All that time I was annoyed with my neighbor for leaving her cat out. But it was my cat! I started looking for holes in my apartment. Really. It sounds silly, but I just couldn’t fathom how Winston could have gotten out. I thought maybe it had just happened. I looked for a hole in the screen over the window or a gap along the baseboard. Nothing. And then I figured it out.
I ran over to Greg’s house and woke him up, of course. When I mentioned that Winston had been on the prowl, a little light bulb went off.
“Oh yeah, I kind of thought I felt something brush my legs last night as I left your place, but then I didn’t see anything,” he said. This is why women bear children. Do you see what would happen if we left men in charge?
Winston has no claws, but somehow he survived seven hours in the wild. We don’t know what he did, but I’m pretty sure he had a great date with some pussy cat he picked up on the street. He’s been desperate to get out of the house ever since.