We used to have a black cat named Jamal who loved soba noodles. It’s a mystery why he liked it so much; it might have been because it was fun for him to catch the dangling noodles.
A friend of my wife was giving him away because he got him as a forced gift. As soon as she entered his apartment, the cat jumped into her bag. I was not aware of this development; when I came home from work, the cat was there. He didn’t look shy or nervous. He behaved like he was meant to live with us.
He was an athletic cat. He would jump up on the bed, with his ears slicked back, and sidestep rapidly as if he was playing basketball. One time, he darted between my legs to pass me and I accidentally broke his hind leg. He came home from the vet with a bright red cast on his leg that looked like a high top Nike Air Jordan.
He was a ladies man and competed with me for my wife’s attention, constantly trying to cuddle up with her. Sometimes he would climb to the top of the bookshelf and jump down on my belly while I was sleeping, which was terrifying. I had to lock him out of the bedroom but he managed to open the sliding door with his paw. Since the doors didn’t have a lock, I had to drill a hole and insert a stick through the two overlapping doors to lock them. Shockingly, that didn’t stop him. He kept prodding the door so that the perpendicular movement of the doors would shift the position of the stick slightly every time; eventually, the stick would fall out of the hole and he would slide the door open with his paw. It was very much like the scene from The Shining where Jack Nicholson axed his way into the room. The only difference was his objective: to cuddle up with my wife in bed. When they were cuddlin’, I could almost hear Love’s Theme by Barry White.
As he got older, he became mellow but his way with ladies didn’t change. Sadly, he caught diabetes and I had to give him an insulin injection every day. One day, I must have given him too much; we found him stiff and cold on a chair. I had to research how to legally dispose of a dead animal. We took him to Animal Care Centers in the Upper East Side and cremated him.
Every time I eat soba noodles, I still think about him.
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