She sat, bent with age, stroking a gray kitten with her wrinkled hand. It was purring, but she could only feel it. She turned to me when I asked what she was going to name the kitten. She had a puzzled look on her face, so I repeated the question.
"Oh, Sunny," she said.
"He likes you."
"You think so?"
"Yes, he's purring, and his eyes are half-closed," I said. "Cats only do that if they are happy."
"Oh, good." Her attention returned to cuddling Sunny. Her middle-aged daughter turned to me and explained that her mother's previous cat had just recently died, but she needed something to care for.
She asked her mother, "Is that the cat you want, Mom?" Her mother nodded her head, and the daughter went to the desk to complete the paperwork. She came back a few minutes later to take her mother to fill in information, leaving Sunny behind on the bench. I picked her up to make it easier to put her in a box - kittens are hard to catch.
I sat, bent over Sunny, stroking the gray kitten. Here I was, young, lonely, looking for company in a room full of cats, while this older lady looked for a cat to be her companion. She had presumably been married and had had a family, and she was looking for comfort and friendship in an animal. She had come back around to where I was now, but nearer the end of her journey, going full circle in this lonely journey called life. Our only differences could be found in wrinkles, gray hair, and experience.
They came back into the room a few minutes later with a staff member and a box. I gave them Sunny. As I sat, I watched them leave, my face soon forgotten as the mother left, seen but not observed. I was distracted by a black kitten tugging at the corner of its bed.