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Steve Likes to Curse
Writing, comics and random thoughts from really a rather vulgar man
Ottie, la hija distanciada 
Wednesday, June 18th, 2008 | 10:00 am [cat, humor]
Last evening after Ashley came home from work, we went out for a walk around Sharpsburg. The weather was better than it’s been in weeks, like a day in early fall. The recent rains had finally broken the heat wave that had been bearing down on us and making spring feel more like the dog days of August. We walked east on the sidewalk and turned right to explore what we think of as the back of our block, the quiet, residential half of town where there are no bars or antique gun dealers or volunteer fire and rescue companies, just charming little houses on a quiet street.
And cats. There are cats all over Sharpsburg, but in this neighborhood most of all. Pass through at the right time of day, and you’ll find them napping on the porch or sunning on the driveway of nearly every house. There’s one in particular which we refer to as the Cat House, where a few cats are always around, sleeping on the porch or in the windows, or stealing through the flower garden.
Our walk was well timed for cat watching. We saw two lying in a driveway, one fast asleep, the other’s head up, watching us every step of the way. A few houses up past the Cat House, we saw a black dog sniffing around the rear wheel of a car, his owner watching him from the front porch a few yards away. Next to the dog was a little black and white cat, the spitting image of Ottie. I remembered seeing her cross the street in front of my truck some weeks back and wondering to myself if she might be a relative. She looked a little older, a little heavier than Ottie — could this have been her mother? Until I saw this one, Ottie had been the only black and white “tuxedo” cat I knew of in town. And I remembered the night Ottie first came to us while we sat on our front steps — trotting toward us from this direction.  It couldn’t have been a coincidence, could it?
We asked Ottie about it when we got home. “We think we saw your mama over on the next street, Ottiekins,” Ashley told her, stroking her back as she nestled on top of the fish tank. “She looked just like you.”
Ottie got to her feet, stretched, and sat back down. She straightened her back and wrapped her tail around her feet as she looked up at Ashley. “Pero tú eres mi mama, mama.”
Ashley smiled and tickled Ottie under the chin. “Oh, that’s so sweet. But I meant your real mother. You know, your birth mother. Your cat mother.”
¿Mi madre biológica?
“We thought so when we saw her,” I said. “She’s got your white paws and belly. She’s the only other kitty in town who looks like you.”
“Is that where you came to us from, Ottie?” Ashley asked. “Does your mama live on that street?”
Ottie bent around and nibbled at the fur on her hip. “No conozco a mi madre,” she said, looking up momentarily.
Ashley and I exchanged a glance, and decided to leave it alone.
We went into the kitchen and fixed our dinner. Later, after we’d eaten, while we sat on the couch watching The Invisible Man’s Revenge, Ottie came walking out into the living room. Before that I had seen her lying down on the windowsill in the laundry room, gazing out the window at something very far away.
She jumped up on the couch and settled in between us. “Mi madre y yo no conseguimos adelante,” she said, looking straight ahead at the TV.
I narrowed my eyes. After a second, I looked over at her and said, “Ottie, I don’t think that makes any sense.”
Me disculpo,” she said.  “Mi español es muy malo.”
No problemo,” I told her.
Mi madre y yo no somos amigos,” she corrected. “Cuando viví con ella, luchamos a menudo.”
“What did you fight about?” Ashley asked.
Ella nunca me entendía.”
Ashley and I looked at each other. “What didn’t she understand?” I asked.
Ella no aprobó de mi catolicismo.”
“What was her problem with it?” Ashley asked. “She didn’t want you going to church, or . . . ?”
Ottie shook her head. “Mi familia es protestante.”
“Which denomination?” I asked.
Bautista meridional.”
Ashley and I winced at each other.
“That’s tough,” I said. “So, is that why you left?”
,” she said, licking the side of one of her front paws.“Funcioné lejos para vivir mi propia vida.
“Well,” Ashley said, reaching over to scritch Ottie on the top of the head, “I for one am very glad you found us on our steps that night.”
Estoy también.” Ottie stood, stretched, and climbed up on Ashley’s lap. She walked in a circle a few times, then settled down and laid her head on Ashley’s tummy. She yawned and closed her eyes.
I smiled. If it wasn’t the most precious thing I’d ever seen . . .
“I hate to move her,” Ashley whispered, “but I feel like a dish of pudding.”
“I’ll get it for you,” I said, standing up. “I could go for some pudding myself.” I walked down the hallway to the kitchen. “Hey,” I asked, peeking back into the living room a second later, “you want me to crush up a couple Haldol, too?”

Ottie stirred.  She looked up at Ashley.  “Te amo, mama,” she said, then lowered her head and went back to sleep.

“Yeah,” Ashley said, looking down, stroking Ottie as she snoozed in her lap. “I think you’d better.”
Wednesday, June 18th, 2008 | 08:42 pm (UTC)
I love you very much.

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