They walked along the side of the lake, it was very pleasant, the sun was shining and there was a slight breeze. And no tourists, it was before the big season. She knew that he was thinking, he had been thinking for days, she kept quiet, she let him think.
Their life had changed: he was no longer the one who protected her at the 24/7 supermarket at the main railway station, she no longer worked in the supermarket. He had become a star, especially on TV, he had his own show, he danced and he sang, everybody loved him, especially the kids and the adults who confessed to being kids. She had become his manager and minder, she also remained his friend.
But this was not what troubled him.
He couldn’t speak, he couldn’t sing, he could only make a few odd sounds. His dancing was very amateur. He wore no clothes, apart from a hat. No need! He was beautiful. Everybody loved him. He was a character. Somebody spoke his voice and sang his songs; computer software lip-synced the video. His dancing was hilarious and he often misstepped and landed on his behind. Boomph! Everybody laughed.
But this was not what troubled him.
Was he a cat? Or not? He certainly looked like a cat, he was marmalade-coloured and patterned, he sounded like a cat, he behaved like a cat. He had sharp teeth and retractable claws like a cat.
BUT NO! OK, he looked like a pretty, domestic cat with sharp teeth and claws. But he was FOUR times bigger than a domestic cat. And he had a brain and a sense of humour. He had never seen a domestic cat with a working brain. He looked like a cat, but that was as far as it went, he was different inside, he was the cat.
Was he a big cat? Or not?
He certainly had the same number of legs as a big cat and could be violent, indeed lethally violent, if he wanted to be, but not like a big cat. He once got near a lion in a cage at a circus – really frightening – really scary – the lion was angry and had wanted to eat him.
Was he a feral cat? Or not?
Probably not. He had no desire to hunt small animals or birds, bite their necks and eat them – definitely not.
Was he a human? Or not?
He did not look like a human, even when dancing on his hind legs; he could not speak or hear like a human. However he liked humans, especially Angie and Betty, he could communicate with them in a different way. They did not want to hunt and eat small animals or birds.
But not all humans: what had he done to the two young men who had tried to mug Angie the day before?
He knew that there was chicken on the menu in their hotel that evening – all these questions would go round and round in his head for some days. Who or what was he?
Two days later the two of them walked up the mountain to the next village, it was warm enough, very pleasant. The houses were very colourful and picturesque, the little church too. They sat on a wall, Angie ate a sandwich and the cat some smoked salmon.
The cat was still in think mode and did not communicate with Angie, she kept quiet, she let him think.
They took another path back through the woods. Angie sat on a log to view the view, the cat walked on further. Angie was not surprised when a large cat appeared about four metres from the cat. It must have been a lynx, it had quaint tufted ears. Angie kept very still.
The cat looked at the other cat, the other cat looked at him. Was the other cat female? The cat sang, the other cat sang, a long meandering whine or wail or screech – just indescribable. Angie thought that it was a love song.
The song changed to grunts and groans and violent sounds. Angie thought that it was an argument. The other cat disappeared. The cat walked back to the hotel by himself.