There was an ad for Filene's Basement (in Boston, MA)
on TV today.
My roommate Laura used to work there, in 1983.
And I thought about my (our) precious little orange tiger kitten, who adopted us then....
Butchie, this is for you!
Oh, how I love your sweet memory,
but I still cry over what happened to you.
You were so determined to get out of prison!
You found a way to climb to the top,
while all your furry siblings
stayed at the bottom of the cage.
I thought that such effort and determination
deserved to be rewarded.
I took you home!
You announced your presence
to my roommates thusly:
You saw the platter of spaghetti
on the dinner table.
and with determination
focusing so intently
that nothing was going to get
in your way
You ran on top of our dinner table
and leaped right in the platter!
I said to the roommates,
(after I picked you up out of our dinner)...
"Uh. Guess what? I got a kitten today!"
When Laura said I didn't ask permission,
I held you up, and said
"Awww! Look how cute!"
(I have never had a cat who
was engaged in a labor of love like you did,
seemingly always cleaning your underbelly
from sticky tomato sauce,
every time you managed to
If a human roommate (who even
pays rent, after all)
did what you did,
They'd be history.
I suspect kittens are cute
for a reason...
Since I adopted you
in the Spanish part of town,
I named you "Poncho."
But one day, Doug (a wary roommate,
who had a sandwich
in potential jeopardy)
said to you:
"Watch it, Butch!"
And Laura immediately chimed in:
She thought "Butch" was a perfect name for you,
and could not be convinced otherwise.
That's how you were named.
(A cat lover, Laura also had
a cat named "E.T.").
We finally resorted
to banishing you
to the bathroom, during meals,
because we (4 adults)
couldn't keep you (1 little kitten)
off the dinner table.
And you would let forth
most pitiful, mournful,
meows I have ever heard.
Shakespeare had nothing on tragedy.
This was a tragedy of major proportions,
And E.T. had a trick. She used to open
the bathroom door all by herself!
Instantly you were on the table again!
One time, I was cooking spaghetti sauce.
You walked right up me
and perched on my shoulder.
Then you made a nosedive for the saucepan!
I caught you in midair!
And put you back on the ground.
You climbed back up, but the gig was up.
I was on guard.
So that is why you were named "Butch."
Laura loved animals, but not people.
She also liked cocaine.
I had to move, I knew.
Then, a knock on our front door.
The neighbors were holding you.
You had fallen from our 4th floor sun deck!
(Probably in your enthusiasm,
leaped after some bird.
Maybe you thought you could fly).
You fell 4 floors,
but managed (with
determination of will)
to climb up the stairs
to the 1st floor apartment.
And made yourself heard to them.
You had broken bones no cast would fix.
I cried in spite of myself, at the vets.
You were sitting quietly on my lap.
I told the vet I was in college
and 600 miles from home
and you were all I had!
The vet said:
"He looks like he
is exactly where
She said he had a chance.
If I would keep him in a cat carrier for a month,
the bones might mend.
So I did that.
It must have been such hell for you!
And I was moving.
I had no other choice.
The new roomie thought you would not be safe,
where I was moving to.
Laura immediately told me she would adopt you.
I knew Laura loved her cats...
They never lacked for the best
of food and affection.
(And she cooked a lot of pasta)...
A couple of months later,
I found out from a mutual friend:
"Don't worry about Butchie.
He is just fine!"
I never saw you again,
or was ever able
to get any more information.
Many years later, I adopted a little calico kitten.
She was sweet and very affectionate.
One thing about her, though...
She had such a thing about
being contained in any kitty carrier or box!
She would absolutely go ballistic,
for no apparent reason.
And I wondered,
Maybe, somehow, some way,
Had you come back to me......?