The abandoned shed had the sharp scent of cat urine. Empty, save the absent cat and the two pigeons that swooped out the glass-less window when she entered. She spotted a nest in the corner and regretted having disturbed them; she hoped it didn’t have eggs. She was only borrowing their sanctuary, they’d be back. She hoped the cat would return too. She’d like to see it, likely a big tom from the strength of his markings. She missed having a cat. They’d had a big orange tabby when she was a girl- Shire- he used to lay an offering on the welcome mat each morning, a dead bat or a mouse. Once he’d brought home a tiny barn owl, she’d felt bad about that.
Her life cast in inflexible cement wouldn’t be including a cat. Ryan was allergic. Despite the irrational aspect of it, she held it against him. She hated weakness. No matter what her brain told her, her heart said strong people don’t have things such as allergies to cats.
Though she was miles from home, she thought she heard the baby crying. Could a sound be so imprinted on your mind that it played over and over again like a record on a broken record player? She hoped not. No, the baby was not crying. The empty shed was baby-less; its most important quality.
She slumped down onto the rough concrete floor. It was damp and cool and full of pigeon droppings and dried leaves blown in through the broken door. She didn’t care. She stretched her legs out in front of her and leaned her back against the wood wall. She liked the lighting, bits and pieces crept in through the holes between the boards, weathered and shrunk back from their original position. The light scattered on the floor like mosaic done by a crazy person. The silence of the empty room smoothed her jumpy heart; it allowed her thoughts to finally move again.
She decided she would not listen to Ryan; he had no right to comment. He was not at home all day with her. Crying and crying. Every day. Every hour. One demand after another. Swallowing her up. She tried to tell him, but he didn’t understand. He refused to understand. She was the victim, though she knew he’d not see it that way.
She’d been right, it was a tom cat. A big, midnight-black one stepped though the door. He wasn’t wild though; some fool had put a bell on his neck. He rubbed against her leg, and she ran her hand down his satin fur back as he arched up appreciatively. He stepped out of his domestic life retreating to the shed looking for a bit of relief, just like her. She lay down on the concrete floor and the tom cuddled up next to her.
She did the best she could, that was all that could be expected of a mother- to do her best by her child. She’d closed the door and left. If she had stayed things might have turned newspaper headline worse; she had enough sense to avoid that.
She stroked the cat and decided she’d wait for the moon to rise before she made her way home.