I awoke with a start. I didn’t know what day it was; everyday to me was the same. The dark storm clouds that shed tears of a fisherman’s widow hid the sun from my eyes, keeping me from determining the time. This had been the third straight day of rain, as well as the first three of the coming winter. The light floating through the windows that softly illuminated the apartment was a whitish-grey of sorts, making the walls look ghostly despite the various paintings of fair-skinned maidens and red-headed pixies that adorned them. It was colder than usual, but it didn’t bother me. I was just glad to be alive.

I stretched out my tightened limbs and gave a silent yawn. I didn’t know where I got the energy to move, but it was there. I looked out the window and watched the rain fall out of the sky like porcupine quills. The automatic coffee maker had already done its duty: the smell of coffee kept on the warmer too long filled the air like an old memory you can never get away from. This seemed odd to me. That she hadn’t drunk it yet. I looked over to her bedroom door, and it was open.

I lifted myself off of my makeshift bed on the couch and crept ever-so-quietly to the threshold of her room. I made my presence known: "Anybody awake yet?"

To my surprise, she was. "Good morning, Alexander," her gentle voice said. She was still in bed, her down comforter pulled up to her chin. I got up on her bed, and she moved over to her left to accommodate my slim body. I looked at her face and could tell she’d been crying all night.

"What’s wrong, Helena?" I inquired.

"He left, Alexander. He left for good this time."

A solitary tear rolled down her right cheek, leaving a lonely trail.

"I’m so sorry," I said sincerely, and laid my head on her chest. "He was a jerk anyway."

She pretended not hear that last comment, and ran her through my short black hair. She knew how I loved it when she did that. My body relaxed, and my mind drifted away from the cold rain that slapped against the streets outside.

"I’m so glad you’re here, Alexander. I’m so glad you showed up at my front doorstep. Please say you’ll crash here forever."

I didn’t say anything. She knew I had nowhere else to call home or anybody else to call a friend. She was the only one for me.

We laid there awhile, listening to the rain and staring at the ceiling. She started crying again, with a wave of repressed hysteria. She calmed herself down before I could say anything to cheer her up. I laid there next to her silently, relaxing in her presence. I heard her say in a hoarse whisper: "Oh Alex, how I love you so."

She scratched me behind my ear, the way I like it. I responded to her with an adoring purr, dug my claws into her soft comforter, and fell asleep.

( FIN. )