This story actually takes place in several places. The first being in California. I'll begin there.
Back when I was about seven, my family was fortunate enough to get their hands on a pure bred Siamese kitten. A lovely Seal Point that loved the entire family. My brother was the one to name him. He was against all of the 'pet-like' names and decided that he should be named after Humphrey Bogart's character in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: Fred C. Dobbs.
So Fred he became.
A few years after we had gotten him, someone in the neighborhood decided that he didn't like cats and set out some poison. Fred was strong, though. He survived, but lost his sight due to the trauma to his system.
Fred lived MANY years after the incident. In fact, he even was able to move with us to Oregon and learn our ranch-style home (and its cat-exit to the yard for... You know, cat like things). He had no problem moving around, even if I decided to move the bed and desk around my room. He was quick to adapt, even without his sight.
When I was sixteen, Fred disappeared. He was old, no doubt. Had lost most of his teeth from chewing on electrical cords (I still can't figure that one out), but was still a beloved family pet. Last we had heard, he had ridden the back bumper of my father's car when he went to work one day. A neighbor had told us he had seen the cat there, but couldn't stop my father before he was out of reach. We searched for several days in the area in an attempt to find Fred. He was never found, alive or dead. He simply disappeared.
Fast forward six or so years. After losing my father, having my mother move to the Oregon coast and finding myself (excitedly) living on my own for the first time, I had rented a small one bedroom apartment in south east Portland. I loved that place, but it was lonely. Nothing like having people around you and then suddenly finding yourself alone at night.
I had a waterbed at that time (woo hoo for being single!) and found that I wasn't really alone. Every night I could count on Fred being there. I could feel him jump onto the foot of the bed, making the tell-tale ripple across the frame, and occasionally would feel him curl up behind my knees as I tried to go to sleep. He was a great comfort, especially when I would realize that for the first time in my life, I was going to sleep alone in my own home.
Even though I'm married now and have three other cats, I'm still certain that once in a while I can feel Fred jump up onto the bed. I tell him, "Hello! Make yourself comfortable!" And sometimes he does.
Right behind my knees where he likes it.
Thanks for reading.