I thought about an old friend today.
I arrived in Germany the day before Thanksgiving. I was 21 years old and my little family was setting forth on a new adventure. It was cold and snowing but I was excited to be there. My little family was safe in a teeny tiny apartment while awaiting housing on a military base. I was enchanted with the quaint little village we lived in, where the church bells rang each evening and people walked out of their homes and over to the local Catholic Church. That is until a few days into our new place when I saw a mouse run across the floor. I yelled, jumped up on the couch and cried my eyes out to return to the States.
That night I dreamt of my grandfather who had died 6 years before. He trudged through the snow of my new little village street, marched up the few stairs to my new little apartment door and put a cat at the doorstep, “Aquí esta tu fregado gato”, he muttered. Translated that means, “Here’s your darn cat.” I smiled in this dream and thanked him and he turned and walked away. I woke up suddenly and went to the front door. There on the landing was a tiny black kitten shivering from the cold. I took him right in as my lifeline. That same day, we trekked out to buy cat food, litter box and the works. We named him T.C. after the Top Cat cartoon.
Funny thing was, T.C. was just as afraid of mice as I was and now we’d both jump on the couch, which I’m sure annoyed my grandfather to no end. Try as he might, that man tried reasoning with me as a child that a mouse was smaller than I was an no threat at all. It never worked.
T.C. was a great cat. Within a few months we moved to base housing, where people spoke English, and I had the modern amenities of a new apartment rather than one of a village. There were no mice here so T.C. and I both breathed a sigh of relief and my little family got into the business of loving life in Europe.
The week we were moving back to the States after being in Germany for three years, T.C. disappeared. Never one to leave the house he suddenly was nowhere to be found. We looked everywhere, the basement, all around the house to no avail. He had never been outside. We looked everyday until the day we left. He left our life as mysteriously as he entered it.