Seven days ago I saw both death and life.
Thankfully, the former was cancelled out seven times over.
As I’ve done many times this summer, I set out from my apartment complex on foot, the sun setting on west Fort Worth as I went for a walk through the subdivision just behind my apartment complex.
Dan Harmon’s “Harmontown” podcast blasted in my ears as started to trace my usual route in the August heat that used to be July heat.
A few blocks in, I walked around a bend and saw a motionless lump sitting at the mouth of a driveway.
The lump was a white cat.
That the cat was dead was made clear by the flies buzzing around it.
All of this registered in less than five seconds. By the fifth, I was quickly walking in the opposite direction, toward awaiting life.
When I got back to my apartment, there was one cat.
Susie, who had adopted me two months ago, was a purring time bomb. The kind that lies around all day, all summer, underneath the kitchen table or on top of the coffee table.
Just waiting. Waiting to gift you with an unknown number of kittens when you least expect.
The waiting ended about an hour after I returned, as the first Dallas Cowboys preseason game got underway.
Soon she emerged and made her way into the bathroom and began pawing at the cabinet door underneath the sink.
A much cooler place in my apartment in the hottest days of summer, it had become her favorite place in the preceeding few days
I opened the door for her and she disappeared inside. But something felt different this time.
Sitting on the floor, I opened both doors and watched Susie. She made no move to leave its dark confines.
To be on the safe side, I placed a red towel on the cabinet’s floor and Face Timed my mom.
As I told her what I thought was happening, Susie proceeded to confirm what was happening. Her water broke. Susie began licking it off the towel.
A few moments later, she crept out of the cabinet and made her way into my room, where she hid herself in the closet. She sat behind poster cylinders and a plastic lightsaber located next to an old yellow chest filled with slightly newer issues of Sports Illustrated.
I scrambled to move it out the way and placed another red towel underneath her. Then the feature presentation began.
Susie seemed surprised by the appearance of the first kitten, but took the escalation of events in stride. I couldn’t even tell when the second slimy ball arrived.
I’m not sure which came first or last. I just know the last two were late surprises in a three-ring circus of wet fur, afterbirth and blood, all illuminated by the flash from my iPhone’s camera.
By 11:43 pm, the purring time bomb had successfully become a purring mother of seven.
Five days later Susie moved her offspring to the other side of the closet. That’s where they remain tonight, wiggling and rolling around on top of each another, oblivious to a world they can’t see.