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How We Met

The year was 2001. I was living in Raleigh, North Carolina and teaching Freshman Composition at North Carolina State University (where I’d recently completed my MA in Literature). My life was getting more settled, and I felt like I might be ready for a pet. But what kind? I couldn’t make the large commitment to… Continue Reading How We Met

The year was 2001. I was living in Raleigh, North Carolina and teaching Freshman Composition at North Carolina State University (where I’d recently completed my MA in Literature). My life was getting more settled, and I felt like I might be ready for a pet.

But what kind? I couldn’t make the large commitment to a taking care of a dog. In many ways, I was still learning to take care of myself. Holding down a real job, paying rent and generally behaving like a responsible adult was still pretty new to me.

We always had pets when I was a kid in rural upstate New York. Dogs mainly, but also hamsters, fish and my younger brother’s geckos and iguanas. Other than strays that bedded down in our barn, we didn’t have cats. I guess that’s why I never considered getting one all those years later in Raleigh.

Then my sister-in-law (my brother and her had, coincidentally, recently moved to Raleigh) told me about a cat in a friend’s neighborhood that was homeless and so thin her ribs were showing. That’s when I realized a cat could be the perfect pet for me: Loving, but low maintenance.

The cat I saw in the neighborhood where my sister-in-law’s friend lived was skinny, but not nearly as neglected as I’d been told. Still, I’d made the drive over. I didn’t feel like I could just leave this cat. Besides, she was really pretty and seemed friendly. I’d take her to the SPCA and she’d be adopted by a nice family.

The cat had different plans. As I drove, she climbed into my lap and nuzzled my hand. Next thing I knew I was at the grocery store buying a littler box, litter and cat food. By the time I got home I’d already named her Lucy, and she’s been with me ever since.

—Justin Marks

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