Mama was quiet. She was always quiet when she was angry, but this was the longest time yet. Two days. It had been two days since I last heard her voice. Papa would try to talk to her. He made her dinner, carried the groceries in from the car, cleaned the house; he did all the things he usually never did, but it still wasn’t enough.
He was a terrible man. That’s all I knew.
Papa was an awful, sad excuse of a person because he made mama sad. I tried to cheer her up. I laid with her. Listened to the silent cries she would release in the bathroom; and she would smile at me. Pat my head as her blue eyes glistened from the fresh tears, though she never shed those tears in front of Papa. Rather, she always acted like everything was alright, the only sign of any lasting anger at him being the ensuing silence left hanging in the room.
How could he be such a terrible man? My papa, the one who found me, the one who took me in when I had nowhere else to go?
I remember the day so clearly. I had been all alone for such a long time, the other cries of the animals loud and headache inducing. They would never quiet; and the cage (it was tiny) I shared it with two others whose coats were white and grey. We all looked identical, and yet Papa had chosen me.
A gift for mama.
We were all happy for such a long time, and now this. This annoying silence that was everywhere in the house even when no one was there and they left me to my own devices in which I would cry and cry and cry. Still silence.
And then there was one evening where we were all together in the living room. I was sitting on mama’s lap, and she was petting me with such a tender hand. I loved mama because she always knew how to pet me just right. And papa was sitting off in his old red chair. The one that when the wooden handle was pushed back, a little foot rest would come out from the bottom. He looked over at me, smiled. I turned away because he was a terrible person. Someone who upset mama. I saw his hand though, saw him reach out, reach for me, and I reacted, a hiss rising from me and the silence was gone as claws dug into skin.
“I see,” Papa had said then, holding one hand with his other. “So even the cat prefers another man to me.”