The key was in the exact spot I’d asked Em to leave it, nowhere as obvious as under a mat (it would help if I had a mat), but still accessible if you knew where to look. Being the one who had chosen the spot, I knew where to look. I ended up knocking over my bicycle to retrieve it, even after setting down the suitcase and corduroy knapsack. Once that clatter had been sounded, though, she knew. Millie. She began me-yowling at the door before I could even unlock it.
It hadn’t been a week. Just a few days. But a few days was too long for my fluff ball. When the door lurched awkwardly open, she stood there, blinking up at me with her light-scrinched green eyes. Unlike most days, she didn’t bolt to escape, the little Houdini-cat. No. She stood fast as I stepped over her, and then followed me as I set my bags down in the kitchen, trailed after me as I went to fetch the remainder of my luggage outside the door.
When I finally sat on the floor, treats in hand, she was all over me. She went straight for my face, rubbing her cheek on mine. I may as well not have been holding treats. She pawed and petted and purred for a good five minutes before even noticing that it was her favorite chicken liver chunks I held out for her. She took one, one, and bolted it before turning back around to head butt and nuzzle, as if afraid I’d disappear again.
That night, I flopped down on my bed to be treated to the rarest of all things: Millie curled herself into a fuzzy oval, little spoon to my big, and fell fast asleep.
Loyalty? Yeah. Don’t tell me about your dog. My cat has him beat.