If I become a little more poetic, it’s because that’s what Boo inspires.
In some ways, she was a typical cat. In many ways, she was the prototypical cat. Plenty of people say that kind of thing about beloved pets, but Boo transcended just about everything. She reshaped the world around her, defying all logic and expectation, and at the end of the day really just wanted to catch a little sleep.
There are so many stories to tell about her, so many legends, and maybe some of them are even true, but what’s the point of truth, anyway? It binds you, and it tells you nothing that you didn’t already know. Truth is only what you can prove. Think of Boo as a scientific curiosity, like string theory.
She was born with a groovy mutation, a set of yellow and blue eyes, and a vocal box that denied her the ability to meow. What she actually did was something like a chirp, a short utterance that could sound like a protest or an affirmation, depending on her mood, so that she always took part in the conversation, though keeping her most intimate secrets to herself. In that regard, she was aloof, even at the Roadkill Café, but the truth is there was never a more congenial creature in all of creation.
She had her quirks, yes, and fairly routine enemies. She liked the gravy in a cat treat more than the meat, and her paws were deadly, especially if you were a dog two sizes too big (though this did not prevent an unexpected meeting one day, when she fell on this dog’s head).
She owned a set of People Suits, in which she could participate on reality TV game shows, concealing her secret to almost everyone, giving herself away only in subtleties, being inordinately clumsy or, yes, chirping with visiting friends. It sounds like nonsense, but these are stories.
Her mortal enemy, now trapped in a water tank, presaged her coming in his efforts to tear apart tennis balls, always resulting in a distinctive rictus. He stopped making them once she appeared.
She once blotted out the sun for a couple of ants, stole a toy blaster to defend her food, chewed on the weapon of another plastic figure, a villain, and it was said that she knew exactly what she was doing. She was just like any other cat, except preternaturally so. She knew a cat named Ryan who lit his whiskers, and then ducked his head in a toilet. She enjoyed Ariel’s water. Ariel was a fish. She once got her paw stuck on the string of a cat toy, and that’s why she didn’t play with cat toys. She could make her own fun. She also didn’t bother with catnip. She was straightedge all the way.
She liked to judge just about everyone, taking a tall perch and staring at the spectacle beneath her. It was not wise to approach her from this position. Again, just like any other cat, but so much more. She opened up a shop with a disclaimer and a full liability waiver, allowing anyone to pet her, just once and then leave. She made good money. She sometimes considered working for the Red Cross.
She loved voraciously, and quietly despised just as passionately. She could make toy cars fly, and then make a hot pursuit. She knew when it was Gravy Day and wouldn’t let anyone forget it. She wanted badly to be outside, but always scurried back in, especially if it was wet there. She could climb and did any surface, even if she clearly thought about how to make it happen sometimes. You could trick her into licking you if she was grooming herself. She let herself sample whatever looked good among the people food. Again, not so different, but the more time you spent with her, the more indispensible her existence became, even if she chose to curl up next to rather than on you. It was all good.
She lost a fang and started to scowl. She was a pirate, a bear, the day after tomorrow, had a scary name borrowed from an charming movie, responded in the early years enthusiastically to it, grew tired of it, never forgot it, never let you forget her, never let you overlook her.
Yeah, she was just like a regular cat, except she was extraordinary. Imagine coming across Boo randomly. In a place like the Roadkill Café, she was queen, like everywhere else, but wasn’t too proud to ask for a little love, maybe with a head butt, if you were lucky. She was pure white, with just a little gray mixed at the top of her head, a perfect angel, a sweat little devil, ready to corrupt you.
That’s what this is all about, I thought to myself, coming across her, what they were all trying to teach me, how any of it makes sense, how anything makes sense, a sentinel of liberty and independence, ready to give it all up in a heartbeat, if you let her.