I don’t know who owned the mystic I’d borrow and call Puff. His seasonal groomings told me he belonged to someone else. I once spotted him strolling through a neighborhood alley and thought that a man working on a truck called him Larry. Maybe that man was talking to another man offstage from the alley. Then again, Puff was a man’s man. He could have owned the name Larry easily.
Puff had enormous paws that could cover most of the palm of my hand. His gaze could hypnotize me into giving him Fancy Feast and a nap on my pillow or couch. My daughter and I loved nothing more than having him stay the night, and we’d fall asleep to the sound of his steady purr.
By the time my daughter started school, Puff’s visits began to dwindle. We’d take walks through the neighborhood to see if he’d become the back door man for another family. I took the photo above during one of his last visits, and in it he seems to be telling me that he’s found another woman but knows he’s made his mark on me.
My daughter and I still reminiscence about Puff. I hope he disappeared because he and his mysterious owner moved away.
He’d be an old man by now, but I’m sure he’s still full of love, charisma and machismo.
I’ve used at least a dozen different nicknames for my daughter. Most of them I use just between her and me, my way of writing some footnotes on her entry in the Book of Life. Once I accidentally used one such name in front of a friend, who asked me, “why do you call her Perfect Cheeks?”
I stated the obvious, “Because she has perfect cheeks.”
Her chi is perfect as well, so she is also my Perfect Chi.
She is perfect for me because she told me at age four that my shampoo smelled like a poison pen.
She is perfect when she pretends to be a Japanese man on Twitter, convincingly.
She was perfect on the bus trip to Ohio Caverns when her classmates were messaging on Nintendo DS and never guessed she was the one trolling them as Mr. Saturn.
She was perfect when she told me that David Bowie and some cats have heterochromia, not dichromatism.
She was perfect when she remembered during a power outage that Chris Griffin’s artist name on Family Guy was Cristobal.
For the past couple years, I’ve thought that my daughter was on the verge of outgrowing her fascination with Halloween. This photo of her I took in a Halloween store over the weekend shows me that she hasn’t. If I could bottle that sense of awe and wonder and keep it forever, I would. I know that I will try to talk her into giving out candy at home instead of trick or treating. I figure that I will fail at persuading her that at age 14 she should sit back and give treats to all the little Minions, musclemen and princesses who will troll down our street on Halloween. She will trick or treat anyway, and I will be secretly relieved that she is still young enough to treasure all that candy.