The wildcat is a half-grown tabby with an overlay of vague calico splotches, a foundling from down the road. Her name is Dulcie, for “sweet.” She’s very sweet, when she purrs on my lap or naps in the sun or listens beside me while I play the violin.
Then she goes into manic mode, racing fierce-eyed, careening off furniture and walls, arching turning in mid-air, growling at unseen enemies.
That’s not what scares me. My fear is that this soft, furry invader of my home will likewise invade my heart. That I’ll love her too much, that she’ll leave me too soon, like the two before her and the one before that and others before them. I love, and they die or disappear, and it hurts altogether too much.
Yet what can I do? This little wildcat will grow into a civilized feline being, and my heart will grow with her, and somehow, together, we’ll get by.
For now, though, she’s still a wildcat, and I’m still scared.