Not to imply that his life was a windy, bitter wasteland, night-time all the time kind of place. Absolutely not. There were periods of real joy. There was genuine happiness. These moments were more ephemeral than the seemingly omnipresent misery, but were far more real, more vivid, more welcome. Snow falling under orange streetlights. Watching Michael Jordan play basketball. Singing along with a favorite song on a crystal blue day. And of course, there were his boys.
He had two cats, Louie and Boo Bear. Back when he and Jasmine were together, he mentioned one day that their next cat should be a black one. He thought black cats were beautiful, mysterious, enchanting. At the time, it was an innocent topic of conversation, not a plan for the near future, as Jasmine already had two cats and two was the limit for their apartment complex.
But the next day, there they were at the Humane Society. Boo came home with them that night. He was a miniature panther, sleek and shiny. Boo was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
When he and Jasmine split up, Boo Bear became his savior and his family, his connection to reality. There were moments and days, and long days of those moments, when the black cat on his lap was his whole world.
Boo Bear, for his part, was a trooper. He had always been shy, and being displaced with his papa made them tighter than ever. They were a team. They became stronger. And the guy who swore he would never live with a cat was now dependent on one for his sanity.
Boo Bear slept through much of this. He dreamed mice and tuna and the sun pouring through a bedroom window.