I first saw her at the general store, hanging around the phone booth like she was waiting for a call. She was very black, extremely pregnant and obviously had been on the road for quite sometime. Poor little homeless thing, I thought. My heart went out to her, as I passed her and went back to my home. I sent a silent prayer up, “Please Dear Lord, please help her”.
I could not get her out of my mind, thinking she looked sickly. Aw, not my problem, besides I was not in a position to help financially. But still and all, she crept back into my mind. I kept seeing her face and I worried that she was hungry.
I became so obsessed with the fact that I finally went back to that phone booth to see if she was still there. Maybe, I could just give her a little bit to eat and that would help her to her next destination.
She was still there hanging around the phone booth. The way she looked hungrily at each person that came out from the store broke my heart. The look on her face was of expectation, like they had a prize for her or something. Several people stopped to say a few words to her, others just looked at her and turned their backs, not caring to look further.
I sucked in my breath and stepped over next to her. Her hair was pretty dirty and had a few weeds tangled in it like she had been sleeping in a field. Good thing it was still summertime. Her feet looked pretty worn. Her face was strained looking. I said, “Hi there sugar, you poor little thing, do you not have a place to go?”.
I was really thinking, “Oh you poor little thing, all knocked up and no place to go”. I wanted to hug her as she turned to look at me, but instead put my hand out to her, which she took, and surprisingly she wrapped her arms around my neck. I could not have been more shocked. There was something desperate about her.
I made her come to my house and fed her lunch and milk, (mostly for the baby, ya know)? She then went and washed up, looking fresher after some of the road dust came off. She was really quite pretty in a sort of exotic feline type of way. Street smart was written in her eyes, surely necessary due to her experiences.
She ended up staying with my family for quite some time. My husband was not too thrilled about the idea of a new guest in our home but was won over eventually by the sweet side of her nature. Sugar became a fitting name.
She was interesting. I wondered about her past. I never found out anything from her. I could not tell her age and she did not offer it. She had a timeless look about her, young looking in one way, yet old and wise in another. She really did not need anybody, though the day I found her she was weak from hunger. She was a survivor.
She quickly fit into our family’s routine and our neighborhood. Everyone seemed to be her friend. She began visiting the hardware store, befriending the men that hung out there telling lies to each other. Sometimes she would be gone all day. She was a friendly girl that is for sure.
My little girl loved her so much. She called her “Mama Sugar”. Sugar loved her too and was very good with little children. She could get my daughter to quiet down and take her nap. She was comforting to her I guess.
There was something wrong with her labor and the baby or should I say babies. There was more than one, one that did not make it. It was so tiny, not quite formed as it should be. We buried the wee thing on our property and marked it with a headstone carved out of wood. I believe the lack of proper nutrition during her pregnancy contributed to that. She did have a huge appetite, but it seemed like I could not fill her up. Miss Sugar did become a wonderful mother though to the surviving.
I found that Sugar did have a penchant for collecting socks and gloves and scarves. Maybe it was a providing type thing that came over her after the pregnancy, a nurturing type of thing, collecting things for her offspring. I am not sure. Maybe she just wanted to be warm.
I began finding gloves of all sorts placed around the house. I just thought they were mine, that I or my baby girl had dropped them. I would just shake my head and pick them up and toss them into this huge basket I kept in my kitchen for odds and ends. I thought it was the same gloves that I was picking up over and over as they were the same color. This was not the case.
A neighbor lady came to my door one day with a story of missing gloves. Many pairs of missing gloves. She described the gloves and the footprints left in the neighborhood gas station which she owned. She showed me the footprints left, and they could very well have belonged to Sugar. Oh my goodness, she was a thief! I looked into my big basket and found 6 pairs of gloves, all matching, all fitting the gas station lady’s description. They belonged to her. What the heck did Sugar want with all of these gloves? I gave them back and apologized and gave Sugar a lecture about stealing from others and how wrong it was. The lady did not press charges, thank God.
Sugar stayed with us a while longer, and then one day just moved on. We did not know where, she did not tell us, she just disappeared. I missed her terribly, missed her company, I wondered what had happend to her and hoped and prayed that she was alright. I figured she just one day got a ride with a stranger to her next destination. Apparently she had itchy feet. Her name should have been Gypsy.
I never heard from her again, but a few years later, I picked up the local newspaper and saw this article about a black cat in a neighborhood with missing gloves and socks. A lady had put up a clothesline in her front yard for the neighbors to claim their missing items. It sure sounded like Sugar, though I could never be sure. I left it alone as it sounded like if it was her she was extremely happy and doing well in her new diggs.
I wonder from time to time if she had moved on again, which I suspect she did. Keep your eye out, watch your gloves and your socks and scarves too. If you suspect a shortage of these particular items, Sugar may have moved into your neighborhood for a time. Just long enough to move into your life, stealing not only your socks and gloves, but stealing a piece of your heart too.