Sugared Touch

By
I meet the man in a bar downtown in the middle of a wintery night in the dirty streets of New York City. He had a cat on his lap, and he ordered a cup of coffee, slowly spooning sugar into it. He stroked the cat's black fur and initiated a conversation with me saying, "This contact isn't real. The cat and I are separated as though by glass. I'm living in time, while this animal here, lives in the eternity of the instant."

His piercing eyes held onto mine waiting for a reply. I glanced down at the black cat sitting on his lap. Its tail hung straight down, lifeless. The clang of the man's coffee spoon hitting the side of his cup released me from my trance. "No," I began. I cleared my throat from its temporary dryness. "The animal is a survivor at heart. He is always prepared for the unexpected."

The man softly smiled while sipping his black coffee. I noticed the repetition of black. His hair was so dark I couldn’t differentiate it from the shadow we were sitting under. His movements were slow and calm, as if he had all the time in the world. This aura almost made the air around us hazy. His gaze was feeling me feel uncomfortable so I diverted my eyes to the cat. It was licking the small grains of sugar spilled on the wooden table.
"And we are not always prepared, darling? This cat is selfish. He only think of himself. No other worry or concern ever crosses his mind." The man settled the cat on the table, ripping a sugar packet and spilling it on the table for the animal. It's pink tongue fastidiously licked up the sugar. "Look how selfish he is," The man stroked the cats head as it leaned toward him asking for more.
"But he still understands your touch. The strokes comfort him and he will always desire the comforting pet you offer. He knows you are aware of him."
The man held the hint of a smile on his lips as he listened to me speak. I coughed, feeling nervous again and continued. "We all to feel real, to feel alive. Even animals."

The man stared at something just over my shoulder, his eyes in an emotionless daze. The cat licked one of his fingers. Taking a quick look at the animal, he grinned wide and turned to me again. "Why my dear, I do feel alive."





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