Kate woke up and checked the clock. It was just after 11:30pm. She got up and wrapped her robe around and went to the kitchen. She poured herself a glass of water, looking out the kitchen window the sky was cloudy and glowed a dim orange. “Snow.” She said to herself. She quickly got dressed and headed to the park across the street from her apartment complex. She sat down on a bench that overlooked the river and took in a deep breath of the chilly air and closed her eyes.
“Hi. Um. Kate right?” She heard a voice say to her. She opened her eyes and saw man standing in front of her. He was wearing a black pea coat and jeans. His brown hair poked out from his beanie. He looked familiar but she couldn’t quite place him. “Do I know you?” She asked. “I come into the coffee shop every morning.” He said. She had been a barista at little coffee shop for almost 5 years now. “Oh, right. Americano and a croissant.” She said. “Matt.” “Sorry, Matt.” “Can I join you?” He asked. “Sure.” “So what are you doing out here so late?” He asked, sitting down on the bench next to her. “I thought it might snow.” “I was hoping the same thing.” He replied. “I love the first snow. Especially at night, when everything is quiet.” They both sat on the bench and watched as the snow started to fall. “Do you hear that?” She asked him. “It sounds like a cat.” He replied looking at her quizzically. Kate got up and started following the meowing. A little tabby cat sat under another bench. “Oh, what are you doing out here?” Kate said, bending down to reach the cat. The cat meowed and stretched its head to sniff her hand. Kate picked up that cat and cradled it in her arms. “What a pretty cat. Wonder if it belongs to anyone.” Matt said. Kate shrugged her shoulders and pet the cat’s silky fur. “I don’t think any of the shelters are open at this time of night.” Matt said, petting the cat’s head. “I’ll take her home with me tonight.”
Juggling the cat in her arms and her keys, Kate unlocked her front door. “Ok, here we are.” She said and let the cat jump to the floor. The cat followed her into the kitchen. She got a couple bowls from the cabinet and filled one with water and opened a can of tuna and put a little in the other bowl. She set the bowls on the floor and let the cat sniff the bowls. The cat licked up the tuna and then looked up at Kate. She smiled at the cat and bent down to pet it. The cat rubbed its head against her hand and purred.
She woke up and was surprised to see the cat sleeping on the bed next to her feet. “Well, good morning.” She said. She got out of bed and went to the kitchen to make coffee. The cat followed her and sat at her feet. “I’ll get dressed and go to the store, get you some food and a liter box, and then maybe we can figure out where you belong.”
Kate returned to her apartment an hour later, the cat was asleep on the couch and woke as soon as Kate walked into the room. She set up the liter box and filled a bowl with cat food. She dialed the number of a vet that the pet store clerk suggested and made an appointment for later that day to have the cat checked out. She was looking though the classifieds online to see if anyone put in an ad for a missing cat. The cat jumped up onto her lap and made itself comfortable. She petted the cat and let out a sigh. She did a quick search of shelters in town and called each one asking if anyone had called looking for a cat. None of them had but they told her to check back in a few days. She picked up a cat carrier when she was at the store and lured the cat into it with some treats and headed to the vet. The vet told her the cat was a she and that there wasn’t a microchip but she seemed to be in perfect health and they couldn’t imagine the cat had been a stray. They agreed that it was probably best she kept the cat until she could find who it belonged to.
It just after midnight, Kate was startled awake from commotion coming from the kitchen. She got up and grabbed a baseball bat that she kept behind her bedroom door and crept into the kitchen. She turned the light on, the fridge was open and food had been thrown onto the floor. She checked the doors and they were all locked and the windows were all closed. She heard a rustling in the bathroom and when she turned the light on the cat was sitting on the floor. It looked up at her and meowed. “Did you do that?” She asked looking down at the cat. The cat meowed again and rubbed its body against her legs. The cat walked out of the bathroom, she noticed something on the floor. She bent down to pick it up, a single raspberry. She held it between 2 fingers and stared at it. “How did you?” She said to herself. The cat was laying on the couch cleaning itself. And looked at her when she walked into the room. “Ok, well I have to get early for work, so behave yourself please.” She said. She cleaned up the kitchen and went back to bed.
Matt came into the coffee shop at his usual time. “Hi. How’s the cat?” He asked. “Fine, I haven’t found an owner yet. But I took her to the vet, she’s healthy and a she.” She said and yawned. “Are you ok?” He asked. “Yeah, somehow she got into my fridge last night and made a huge mess.” She said. “I didn’t know cats could open fridges.” “Me either.” “Hey, so I was wondering, if I could give you my number? And you can decide if you want to call or whatever?” He asked. “Um sure.” She said and handed him a note pad and pen to write it down on. She gave him his coffee and croissant. “ Thanks. I’ll see you around.” He said. She smiled at him and started the next order.
She stood outside her front door with her keys in her hand. “Please don’t be a mess.” She said and unlocked the door. Everything looked in order, but the cat wasn’t anywhere in sight. She checked under the couch and in the bathroom. She went into the bedroom and checked under the bed. She stood up and saw a few raspberries on the floor in front of the closet. She slowly opened the closet, the cat rushed out pass her legs and jumped onto the bed. “How did you get in there?” She said and sat on the bed next to the cat. The cat came over and rubbed against her arm and then sat in her lap. She saw a small folded piece of paper on the closet floor. “Sorry, I have to move.” She said. She picked up the paper and unfolded it. There were red smudges, like raspberry juice she thought and one word was written on the paper. “Willow” She said reading the word out loud. The cat meowed. “Willow?” She repeated and looked at the cat. The cat was standing on the edge of the bed and meowed again. She looked at the paper and then back at the cat. “Is that your name? Willow?” She asked, the cat sat down and stared at her.