Something about the dark morning when it rains must beckon me, because I had decided not to run in the rain this morning, yet I got to have an outside adventure anyway.
It all started when I opened the screen door to fetch the morning paper. I grabbed the plastic-encased Columbus Dispatch and turned back inside. Just as the door was closing, the wiry body of our 5-year-old cat Tupi slipped through. Okay, maybe Tupi isn't wiry. He's pretty chunky, but I couldn't figure out how he got through that door. He looked fairly sleek as he was escaping.
Perhaps it was the memory of this Halloween costume last year that inspired him to make a run for it.
I was wearing warm up pants, a fleece and a pair of socks as I started after him. I called him in an exasperated voice: "Tupi!" as I followed him down the stairs covered with leaves and long skinny seed pods from the trees above. I felt them bumpy through my socks which grew soaked on the wet concrete.
Only a few steps behind him, I felt sure I'd catch him. He usually stopped once he reached the sidewalk. And he did slow down. I could almost grab him when a matching tuxedo cat stuck his head from around the stone wall in front of our house.
Tupi stopped then and crouched.
I looked at the other cat. He was black and white and resembled our other cat so much, I wondered if it could be him. I also hoped I never got confused and caught the wrong cat.
I put a hand on Tupi's back and started to pick him up when he lunged and chased the other cat through the grass up a hill to our neighbor's house.
I turned around to fetch shoes. I could feel the rain soaking through my hair and transforming the sleek straightness to gloppy curls. My running shoes stood ready in the hallway. They mocked me: "Thought you didn't need us today."
"What's wrong, Mom?" Tucker called sleepily.
"Tupi escaped and is chasing another cat," I told him.
I walked out the back door, thinking he might have chased the other cat back into the alley. Tucker in shorts and a tshirt, went out the front door. I made my way through the alley and met Tucker on the sidewalk.
The rain continued to drip from the sky, just enough to make us miserable.
"Go put some shoes on," I told Tucker.
I called Tupi's name, disturbing the quiet of the neighborhood. The kids were off school today so the whole town was having a lie in.
Sauntering up the street toward me came my husband in a black rain jacket. He had pulled himself from the warmth of our bed to search for the cat.
We called together and a neighborhood stray came running to greet us.
"Not you, Mew," I said.
We climbed the hill by our neighbor's house and called some more. They're on vacation so we didn't wake them.
"He'll come back," Earl said and we turned to go.
Then I heard a "Miaaaoo" from the other neighbor's house.
"Tupi," we called again.
After another "miaaaoo" he crawled from behind a planter.
I went to him and leaned over to grab him, looking to see that he had a white tip at the end of his tail.
"Make sure that's him," Earl warned.
"It is," I said as Grace climbed up the hill beside us in a hoodie sweatshirt and pj pants. I handed the cat over to her. She's our quasi-veterinarian and she would be sure he was the right cat and that he had no wounds from his cat fight. Tucker joined us as we got to the sidewalk, his feet a little warmed in his Converse shoes.
I suggested we all walk down for coffee in the rain (okay, so I'm a morning person), everyone else went back to bed while our little cat followed Tupi around sniffing and waiting to hear about his adventure.
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