ME – So tell me exactly.. What happened?
SHE – It fell into the pool from the first floor .
ME – I thought cats knew how to swim..
SHE – The pool was dry.. it hit the floor..
ME – (laughs) that’s a funny way to die..
SHE glared at me, through her sadness. I stopped laughing and blurted out.
ME – I mean..I am sorry for its death. I do…
SHE – That’s okay..!
ME – So are you okay now?
SHE continued to look sad.
ME – What does the silence mean? That you are not okay?
SHE – The silence means that I want to spend sometime in silence..
ME – (confused) Oh..! Does silence help?
SHE – I don’t know. I will only know if you stop asking me questions and let me be by myself. So, please .. could I get a moment alone?
ME – Yeah. You could. But when do u want it?
SHE – (irked) Now..!
ME – I mean.. I am confused now.. Does it mean that I should leave or would you be leaving?
She looked at me for a while, got up and began to walk away. I quickly ran behind her.
ME – Listen..
SHE – (turns around) What?
ME – Why would the cat jump into a water less pool?
SHE was visibly annoyed.
ME – See.. I was trying to understand.. Did it really think that there was water in the pool or did it accidentally slip and fall?
SHE – Na.. It had a rivalry with the cat next door. So that cat plotted a murder, pushed mine from the first floor and made it appear like a suicide.!
Awkward silence and then I break into loud laugh.
ME – You are joking right?
SHE – (restraining) What do you want?
My laugh died…
ME – I want you to smile..
SHE – I shall… I need sometime..
She began to walk away. I began to follow her. She stops, turns around.
SHE – I asked you not to follow me..
ME – (confused).. No you didn’t say that.. You just told me that you want to spend sometime in silence.. So I was following you silently..
She glared at me for a while..
SHE – Okay.. Stop following me, stop talking to me and Leave me alone..
ME – Come on.. You can’t keep adding rules..
SHE – See.. I understand that you want to see me smile.. I shall, eventually. But for now, it’s important for me to be sad for something dear that I have lost..
ME – Why is it so important? I didn’t cry for my dog when it died..
SHE – I never knew that you had a dog..
ME – Apparently we had one, when I was a kid, 4 year old. Car ran over it. But more importantly I didn’t cry..
SHE – You were a kid! Why would you cry?
ME – Well.. I had cried when I had lost my mickey mouse eraser
She looked at me for a while.
SHE – You cried over a lost eraser but not over a dead dog. Wow..! What does that tell about you?
I think for a while..
ME – I don’t know. That’s a difficult question. Don’t confuse me now. You just tell me what should I do to make you smile?
SHE – Leave me alone..
ME – I don’t think that would make you smile..
She began to walk away.
ME – Hey.. I figured out the answer..!
SHE – For what?
ME – I cried over a lot eraser but not over a dead dog. I know what it tells about me…
SHE – What?
ME – That I was a Stupid kid… and that..hmm… being stupid helps.. See I know that your cat had..
SHE – Stop calling it a cat.! It had a name..
ME – And what was it? Cat Winslet?
SHE – No. it was a male. Winnie..
ME – Winnie is a nice name. But anyway.. See.. when Winnie was alive, it made you smile right.? Now that it’s gone, you think that being sad is a way to pay respects. But I feel that Winslet..
SHE – Winnie..
ME – Yeah sorry.. I feel that Winnie would be so offended to see you forcing yourself to be sad. Winnie would be like – “come on girl. I died, you cried and I smiled. But now don’t stretch it too far. Get over it. Stop overacting”
SHE – Was that a joke?
ME – No.. It was a beautiful philosophy. But I can come up with a joke – What would you call a cat which serves ice cream?
SHE – Sorry.. I am in no mood to listen to jokes…
ME – It’s a puzzle for god’s sake.. I will leave you alone if you answer it..
She continues to walk, briskly towards her car.
ME – Moreover the puzzle has a cat in it.. Please.. You got to respect cats.
SHE stops, looks at me.
SHE – All rite.. You are going to leave me alone if I get the answer right.
I nod and she begins to think…
SHE – cat-all-ice-is? as in catalysis..
ME – Well.. This sounds like a better answer than the one that I had in mind..
SHE – And what did you have in mind?
I smiled at her and walked towards her car. She followed me.
ME – Well.. A cat which serves ice cream is called… ( I opened the car door)…A gift that would make you smile..
I kept looking at her, with a hope that my SURPRISE GIFT would make her smile.
Her expression changed for sure. But wait.! She isn’t smiling. What’s wrong..!
I looked inside the car – The ice cream splattered all over the seat and her beautiful cushioned seat torn apart. It wasn’t a pleasant sight.
The only thing that was intact was the bow on the kitten’s head with a tiny label which read- “CAT WINSLET”.
ME – (nervous smile) I think you are right. I should leave you alone… That always helps.
And I sped away….!