This is my Wally. I did not name him. We were best pals for nearly twenty years—longer than most of my current friendships and even my marriage—from ages 9 to 29.
He was born in our linen closet and the runt of the litter who grew to be the toughest and biggest of the four of them.
He had moss green eyes and the cutest squeaky voice that I think I saved from cassette to an mp3 a while ago. He also had a stripe of chocolate brown on his chin, like he’d made a mess eating ice cream. He was an outside cat during his early years and would follow me to school, running two houses ahead (he knew the route well) and pretending to sniff at something until I’d catch up and he’d run ahead again. “Nothing to see here.”
When I’d return home from college, the silhouette of his little Batman head would be waiting at the screen door. He knew my car. Of course he did. I’m 45 years old and I still miss him all the time.