“What’s this?” Kent asked as he bent down the retrieve the mouse toy Kit had dropped his feet.
Kit stood proudly in front of her prize, waiting for his reaction.
“Thanks, Princess,” he said, giving her a quick rub on her head before he dropped his heavy bag by the door and headed to his bathroom. She could hear the shower turn on and the beginning, telltale sniffs of crying.
Kit pawed uselessly at his door in frustration. The toy was supposed to cheer Kent up, a sign of Kit’s willingness to share her worldly goods with him. Jinx had assured that it would work.
She laid down in front of the bathroom door, waiting for Kent to be finished. Absentmindedly, she groomed a paw while she cycled through a list of other things try next.
The fact was this: Kent was sad again.
Kit had started noticing it about three weeks ago, ever since Kent had come home after one of his away games. She hadn’t seen him so depressed in a long time. Lines of fatigue appeared on his face from sleepless nights and she could hear him sniffling quietly when he was alone.
She’d shared her concerns with the cat from upstairs, a persnickety tuxedo who lived on the floor above, when they met for their weekly session on the fire escape.
“Did he talk to his ex-boyfriend? That always makes my human cry,” Jinx asked.
“I don’t think so…” Kit hesitated. “No one has come over in a long time,” she had added.
“Yeah, but has he been spending more time on the computer? My human Facebook stalks her ex all the time.”
“Never mind.” Jinx waved a paw dismissively. “Has he been on his phone or computer more than usual lately?”
“Well,” Kit said slowly. “He’s been watching videos and it’s always the same human in them. He’s usually cooking something in them.” She paused to search her mind for the correct word. “Pies.”
“Maybe, he’s hungry,” Jinx offered with a shrug. “Or, he’s bored. Bring him a toy.”
Jinx hadn’t been much help, but then again, he wasn’t as smart as he liked to believe. Kit didn’t know what she’d expected, but nonetheless, she tried to bring Kent various things in hopes that something would make him feel better. Each time, the reaction was always the same: a pat on the head and a smile that never reached his eyes.
The sound of the water shutting off interrupted Kit’s thoughts as she perked up in anticipation. She followed Kent from the bathroom to where he flopped on the couch and started to flip through the channels. She jumped up, half-landing on Kent who winced.
Kit settled into the spot by his chest and it wasn’t long before Kent started scratching behind her ears. She was warm and content for a while, half-falling asleep with the low sound of the television in the background.
Before she drifted off, she heard Kent quietly whisper, “Thanks, Princess.”