John beckoned me over to look at mom’s birthday gift, a photo of all of us kids. She’d hung it on her dining room wall above her grandma’s buffet. I looked in the bottom right corner where he pointed.
“Is that a cat?”
“No way. I don’t own a cat. I’m allergic.”
“It looks like a black cat.”
“If it were, I would be dead. You know my allergy.”
“I do. That’s why it seems so weird.”
I looked closer. It must be a shadow, but it sure did look like a black cat. His eyes were glowing green from the flash.
Shelley took a selfie of us, with her hand held in front to show off the engagement ring, for her parents, who lived across the country. After texting it to them, her dad called, concerned.
“Daddy! Isn’t it exciting? Wait. What? There’s no cat. No, no, Tim’s allergic. What? Of course, I’m sure.” She hung up and went to her text. There was indeed a black cat on her lap, her arm just above its head, engagement ring accentuating her smile. What the hell?
Now I lie in bed, the creature sitting on my chest. It’s weight feels so real, yet my allergies are not activated by its presence. I cannot go to sleep. I cannot move. My phone is in the living room.