Dancing gales of wind blew past the maple trees and brought a barrage of leaves to destinations unknown. The orange glow of the waking sun sleepily peeked over the horizon, far in the distance. Even though the piercing Autumn weather lashed at my exposed skin, I had been warmed to my heart’s content with the little furry black ball sitting on my lap; her fur was darker than the previous midnight sky and silkier than any mighty panther. She made a tiny snore that told me she was having a wonderful dream; maybe she was chasing butterflies or maybe, she was dreaming of me. In all honesty, I didn’t know. All I knew was that I loved her more than most people.
The sun yawned with all its might and the faint orange glow turned into an intense yellow. It brightened up the ground we were sitting on and wrapped us in a wonderful blanket. I felt some movement from my lap and looked down to find my source of joy staring right at me; her yellow eyes seemed to reflect the sun’s glow which made them glow with uncontained energy. I scratched her cheek and she responded with a happy purr. We both gazed towards the far horizon with only happy thoughts and ideas about the future. Her name was Salem, and she was my best friend.
I still remember that day as if it had been half a blink ago; we were at the animal shelter looking for the perfect companion, looking for you. Countless meows and rattled cages bounced around the building. It was enough to overwhelm anyone's senses to the point of overload. Despite the challenge, we pushed through. We saw the countless rows of cages lined up on shelf after shelf; it was like cans and bottles lined up at the grocery store.
I remember we looked into a few cages hoping to see a happy kitten on the other side; instead, we were met with lethargic and terrified animals. Some had resigned themselves to their fate while others had no idea what was going on. It broke my young heart to see so many beautiful creatures locked behind bars for crimes they hadn’t committed. I would have brought all of them home if it was possible. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a fairy tail, it was reality.
The day went on and on while we kept coming up short; none of the kittens were connecting with us. We were just about to head home when a magical moment appeared with the snap of someone's fingers. I had been walking past a cage when I felt a tap on the side of my head. I dashed to see where it came from and found myself staring at an empty cage... or so I thought. I rubbed my eyes and strained for a better look. That was when I saw it, that was when I saw you. Your deep black fur consumed light while your piercing yellow eyes stared deep into my soul. I would have been frightened beyond belief if it wasn’t for your adorable face and cute silver whiskers.
And on top of that, your paw still combed through my hair. You wore a look of determination and reached out and prayed for the right moment. Whether it was luck or fate, I’m glad you touched me because no one could have asked for a better pet. I always used to look back and see it as us adopting a pet, but it was actually you who adopted us when you tapped me all those years ago.
In the beginning you were small, small enough to fit across my two child sized palms. I was always afraid to hold you because I knew how easy it was to hurt your tiny body. Luckily, you grew and grew and grew big and healthy. Your favorite pastime consisted of basking in the sun until your black fur turned brown, and cuddling right on my lap. You had the uncanny ability of knowing whenever I was sad or not feeling well; you would hop onto my bed and start kneading my blankets like an expert pizza maker. You had the deepest purr when doing it and the most relaxed expression.
I wanted those days to last forever; I wanted to bask right there in the sun with you and stare at the dazzling stars when night fell. I wanted to hold you tight and never let you go forever and ever. However, time was antagonistic towards my dreams; it felt indifferent to the wish of a small child and moved on nonetheless at light speed. We grew older and older and older as the years flew by. I got taller while your black fur started to gray.
Time may have changed us in some ways, but we remained the same buddies as always. You honed your fluffing skills to a point while I learned about the world around us. I learned that strange things had happened since the birth of the universe and continued to happen every day. I just never thought it would affect you too.
At first it was subtle; you couldn’t jump as high and you got a bit thinner. We just thought it was you getting older. We were right in a sense, but old age hadn’t paid you a penny of mercy; it came in like a stampede of a thousand starved lions galloping towards juicy prey. The days slowly passed one by one and you lost strength with each setting sun. Doctors told us it was an advanced form of kidney disease, the non curable kind. You entered that clinic and left without your soul. And at last, we lowered you down into the dirt in the backyard.
Years had gone by since that serene sunrise with the bright azure sky and cool crisp wind. I am only now strong enough to write about you and say goodbye. The bright half-crescent moon reflected off the lake’s surface and lit up the surrounding trees while I remained in the dark, far away; the milky white glow gave off the best Halloween mood. It was only missing the best Halloween cat. A sudden gust of wind blew past the forest and chilled me to my core. Only this time, there was no one to warm me
I still see you in my dreams and know it's your way of making sure I’m okay. You don’t need to worry anymore, because I’m doing great. I know when the day finally comes, we’ll be able to cuddle and bask in the sun just like the old days. So relax and rest easy, Salem, My midnight queen.