memory covered in black and white

I was young and there were road trips. Me, my brother, my dad, my mom. A perennial favorite was June Lake, a small fishing spot near Mammoth Mountain. We had been going there since I was still in a car seat. One summer we picked up a stray cat. She just jumped right into the truck with us. Dad named her Bugs and she lived outside. When he moved out I took over responsibility for her, feeding her dry cat food shaped like grainy “X”s and scratching her back until she raised her rear haunches in content. I was the only one she let pet her.
I would get worried about Bugs when it rained, wondering if she had a dry place to be. We had a big porch with a sage colored roof and old brick flooring. One time I poured her food and sat against the wall next to the front door, stucco pressing into my back. The rain fell through the pine trees and washed up the smell of dirt and the grass looked slick and wet. I sat and waited and I was patient, more patient than I have ever been in my adult life. And she came. Black and white, sneaking around the corner. I scratched her back. I watched the rain.
By the time our house had sold and were were about to move into Tom’s place, Bugs was of unknown age but we had had her for ten some odd years. She was old but never grew past the size of a fat bunny with long legs. My mom said we couldn’t take her with us because Tom lived on a busy street and she would probably get run over by a car. I felt irresponsible and sad. She was another thing I had to give up.
For a few months I was worried whether she was alive, if someone was feeding her or if she could hunt mice. I thought of her waiting for me by the front door with the stucco wall. I wondered if it made her as sad as it made me. And then, one day, I just stopped thinking about Bugs altogether.


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