It's closing in on dusk as I take the boy and Chloe out for their evening walk. I was gone most of the day, came in, ran to the bathroom, they milled around, Orion dipping under my legs (making the bathroom part a wee bit challenging) and barking, Chloe rubbing her itchy nose on my legs, me laughing and riling them up. But out we were, our usual parade of Orion on the long line leading in front, me in the middle, Chloe trailing behind.
I'm singing, talking to the dogs. Feeling happy. It was a perfect kind of day, had coffee with one friend after school, great chiropractor visit, fun softball practice and here I was home, still feeling energized.
"Oh what a perfect kind of day today," I say, pausing with the dogs as they sniff the fence line. "Coffee with Brett after school in the sunshine, great chiropractic visit with Brenna, softball practice with the sun setting..." Orion is walking ahead, taking full advantage of having the long line. I slowly let my eyes follow to where he is headed and promptly clamp down on the leash. He hasn't noticed yet, but there is a grey cat resting right at the foot of the stairs for which he's about to approach. I smile, watching to see when he'll notice, his nose still contentedly sniffing the grass (likely tracking the smell of the cat in front of him). Suddenly he notices. He leaps a good foot in the air in excitement. Myself, a good ten feet away, lean back, like I'm reeling in a big fish. Orion flops, he hops, he dances with enthusiasm.
The cat just sits there and looks at him.
I take a step closer. Orion jumps some more. I start veering out into the road, noting the car that has pulled into the street seems instead to be parking. Hanging onto my giant fish, I try to make a big circle around the cat. Orion is still leaping about. Chloe, bless her, is keeping up with me, three feet behind me, oblivious to the cat, happy to be in the street. Finally, the cat gets up. The car door opens to the car in the street and "Bill" walks over and says, "Aww, who's the big guy after--Juno? You don't want to go up against Juno, Big Guy, Juno will kick the crap out of you..." I'm laughing, still reeling in my dog, who has now turned to leap around the house where the grey cat has disappeared.
Bill, out in the street now, throws his hands in the air, "Come here big guy!" Orion changes his interest and leaps after Bill, licking his face and acting like they haven't just met two seconds ago, but rather are the very best of long lost friends. I begin telling Bill about Bubba the cat in Indiana who has forever spoiled Orion as he loved dogs and would play with Orion only in the way Orion dreamed cats would. I then get to learn of Bill's life story and his bit of wisdom regarding how one should live their life.
The sun has definitely disappeared now beyond the horizon, and as Bill is telling me about the two rules of life, I notice Orion sniffing around the cat door on the house that had the cat just hanging out in front of it. I glance briefly, noting the cat perch is empty so figure this porch too is empty. I've never actually seen the cat use the door. I go back to listening to Bill.
"Yup, you have to find something you're passionate about--like art! Or like in my case..."
And then there's a screaching. A hissing. And a yellow lab falling down three steps, rapidly backing his little pink nose as far from that cat door as he could. I look up and see whiskers poking out of the tiny dark hole and can't help but start laughing.
"Are you okay buddy?" I say, snuggling his face, checking for flesh wounds. "I guess there was a second cat?"
"That one would be Juno."