Cathartic Catalyst

*feeling smug* Nice title, ay? Such fancy words of which meaning, when strung together, one doesn’t really understand. One picked them because the words start with ‘cat’ as one has been coming home to a cat these past weeks.

One found him crouching next to one of the car rear tyres one night. He looked content. One needed to put the cover over the car, which meant he would be engulfed in it. One tried to chase him away but he wouldn’t budge. Well, I can be as cold as you, twit! One gave him the cold shoulder and let him be. These exchanges continued for a couple of days.

That night, following a hellish coding session, one went home feeling sick and awful after a non-stop day-long coughing. One opened the gate while coughing, wheeled beastie away, coughing, and rechecked all doors and locks, still coughing. When one tried to put the dusty dust cover over the car —with additional dust flying around one was bound to cough strenuously and sneeze simultanously— one found the cat crouching lazily on top of the hood with eyes closed and tail swaying. One definitely had to drive him off.

One flicked fingers to get his attention, poked his ear and stomach, yet he stayed still. One then flicked a finger on his forehead repeatedly with increasing force until he opened his eyes. We engaged in a staring competition that ended with one sneezing hard. He gave the obvious winning smug face and then closed his eyes.

But then the cat sneezed. He still kept his poise. Then, he sneezed again, stronger, and his body shook. Third time lucky! He sneezed, toppled over sideways, slid down the hood, and fell.

One burst out laughing while sneezing and coughing in no particular order. The cat, having fallen from grace, looked up at one in disdain. One, still unable to stop laughing, finally gave in. So, it hasn’t been an easy day for you either, has it? Yes, Let’s have a truce, Cat! One took him by the neck and restored him to his rightful place, on top of the hood —he had just been warming himself apparently using the residual heat— and decided to put aside the cover. One patted him on the head. Thanks for the laughter…

One slept with a smile that night, still coughing now and again but smiling nonetheless. The night felt warmer already.

“In point of fact… My pupil-slits vary but modestly between broad and narrow, but mankind’s value judgments turn somersaults and cartwheels for no conceivable reason…”

“Still, now that I come to think of it, there may perhaps be sense in such peculiar topsy-turvydom. For just as two ends to every string, there are two sides to every question. Perhaps in its extreme adaptability mankind has found a way to make apparent opposites come out with identical meaning.”

I am a Cat (吾輩は猫である), Natsume Sōseki


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