More waiting followed. My wife read on her Kindle and I dozed, but I was suddenly awakened by banging at the front door. It was the cat owner. I hadn’t seen her leave. The receptionist was AWOL, so I went to let her in.
“I forgot my carrier,” she said quietly, “though I don’t need it anymore.” She explained she’d been subletting from a subletter and the first subtenant returned and told her to vacate. She had to find a new apartment quickly, “and they don’t take pets, Belle was too old and sick to make the move. She was 18—I didn’t have another option.”
Whether it was the lateness or my anticat prejudice, I didn’t register what she was saying—was she using the vet as a drop-off kennel? Then she started to cry, and I understood why she had no further use for the carrier.
We stood in silence, and I sensed a sadness apart from her grief. I asked her about Belle, whom she described as a short-haired mix with great temperament, intelligence and playfulness into old age. She closed her eyes and sighed. It was a brief memorial but seemed to restore her. “Thank you for asking about Belle,” she said before taking the empty carrier and heading into the night.
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