Shortly following the adoption we flew to Europe for the first time. I was kind of their trophy. Like a pin from a charity they send you to wear on your jacket so everyone knows you donated. They carried me with them, but it was all for show. I was “the adopted girl”.
In Europe they vacationed. They traveled and played in the sun. They met what I’m guessing are important people and always kissed them on each cheek.
After our third trip to Europe I saw the chance. They were out having dinner and I had had enough. Grabbing their extra tip fund and some jewelry the woman had brought, I left. Out onto the street, first left, 3 blocks, and a right into the train station. That was it – I was free.
The train car shifted along making sleeping optional at best. The excitement had worn off, I was once again on my own.
Sleeping on the street wasn’t that bad. It was summer time and there were plenty of events and tourists to beg change. I traveled with a Canadian pin on my right chest – everyone seemed to be friendlier if they thought you were a Canadian.
Summer came and went. So did the winter. It was cold. Eventually I found a job as a dishwasher in an Irish pub. The owner let me sleep next to the walk-in cooler and eat one free meal a day. It’s like he felt sorry for me sometimes.
That next spring I was walking to the market. It was a Tuesday, as the owner had sent me to get cabbage for the morning prep. The sun was shining but the streets were still quiet. She was there, all alone next to some boxes – Janice. As I squatted down she limped over. Something had happened to her front paw. I carried her in my jacket against my chest. She purred as we shopped.
Keeping a cat quiet while you wash dishes isn’t easy and the owner quickly found her. “No Cat!” he said.
The next morning before daylight we found our way out of town and off to London. It wasn’t as welcoming as other towns, but there were lots of places that needed a worker.
Janice and I spent the next twelve years together. I saved enough and finally sold the woman’s jewelry to be able to afford payment on a small flat. She always meowed and purred when my keys would ring the locks to the door. She would sit and listen to me tell her about my day as I stroked her head. She was my best friend.
Looking back she was kind of my good luck charm. Once we left for London together we got the lucky breaks. A decent job with tips. A flat. A better job. Even met a guy.
Janice was there on my wedding day. I’m glad she was able to see me all dressed up. She passed two days later. I like to think that being married she knew someone else would be waiting by the door each day for me.
– Eric Peterson