I didn’t expect the cat on my doorstep.
After work I’d come home, search through disorganized clashing keys in my pocket with one hand, and scratch behind his ears with the other.
An empty pizza box bed sat in my doorway. It was an upgrade from the hot concrete.
The stray cat was becoming my cat: Pow.
Fed and groomed by somebody else.
A perfect relationship. Just convenient enough for me.
Just the beginning for Pow.
Weeks later, I upgraded his pizza box to a dog bed.
Pow would wake up and curiously roam around my house; opening my bottom cabinets and sniffing my shoes until boredom brought him peacefully back to sleep.
On future mornings, I often heard meows of excitement at the front door coming from the sun-filled exterior.
Bold green eyes would stare up at me while I cooked in my narrow kitchen.
My screams filled the room when the cat disobeyed my requests to get off my tan couch.
I mean, Pow does shed, and I do have allergies!
Claws often scratched at my white bathroom door. Slowly exposing its impenetrable stained wood.
So I stomped my feet.
I walked around with a blind eye. Trying not to lead the cat on.
After work, I would quickly lock the door behind me.
I had regained my control.
An inconvenience to me.
But that was then, in the past.
An attempt to avoid receiving love.
An attempt to avoid giving love.
An attempt to protect my control-fueled identity.
An attempt to protect my shame and guilt.
But now, I leave our door open.
(Placeholder) I forgive myself.