I’ll never forget the moment we met. He held his chin high and puffed out his chest. He gazed steadily into my eyes. He looked confident. And yet I could tell he yearned for me. He looked so dignified. So refined. Even behind bars. His eyes beckoned me. This was our very first encounter. Already I was in love.
I pointed directly toward him and I begged my sister, “Let’s take him out first!”
My sister, Chrissy, was drawn toward a different cat – a calico cat sharing a cage with some others closer to where we were standing. The one I fell in love with was isolated. She gave in and we asked the worker at the SPCA to pull him out of his cage first so that we could hold him.
Oreo worked his charm like magic. He rubbed against us and he purred. He cuddled affectionately. In all reality, he practically threw himself at us. After a few minutes soaking up all the attention he gave us, I turned to my sister and said, “Okay. We can look at the other one now.”
Chrissy’s brow furrowed slightly and she decided we wouldn’t. She was the one paying for this new family pet, and she did not want to come home with five cats instead of one like we originally planned. Fearful that she wouldn’t be able to choose between the two, we skipped out on the visit with her first choice and brought Oreo home to meet his new family.
I had prayed for my ideal cat. God answered my prayers directly when he gave me Oreo.
When my sister moved out of my parents’ house, she left Oreo with us. Everyone knew he was my cat. When I moved out of my parents’ house, he came with me. Nobody could deny that he was not just the family cat – he was my baby, my love.
I cannot argue with the concept of love at first sight. I experienced it myself. However, many insinuate that “love at first sight” is the story in and of itself. Most people believe that when a story starts with love at first sight, it will always end with happily ever after. This is where I disagree.
I’ve had plenty of opportunity to stop loving my Oreo. Although he is usually very gentle – he has been known to bite me. Although I am not a morning person and I refuse to feed him until quarter to 7 each morning, he does not hesitate to waken me at quarter to 5 hoping for breakfast. And although he is not a huge talker, he will nag continuously when I am exhausted and he is hungry. Let me tell you: it is hard to love him when he has been meowing in my face for a solid hour from 5 to 6am. Although I love it when he cuddles, I do not appreciate when he jumps onto my bed and attempts to sit on my face. If I were to focus on these aspects of our relationship, I could very easily fall out of love. Love may be initiated with a single spark, but it takes some work to keep that flame burning.
He’s had just as many, if not more opportunities to stop loving me. How about when I lock him in my spare room so I can continue to sleep and forget about him so that he doesn’t get fed his breakfast until after 9am? How about last week when I kicked him in the head with my motorcycle boot? How many husbands would be eager to forgive their wives for a stunt like that? (In my defense it was a TOTAL accident! He was rubbing up against my legs when I wasn’t expecting it and I started to fall over. I kicked him while I was trying to regain my balance.) How about when we moved into my apartment and he got fleas? It took me more than a month to get rid of them! Through all of that, despite our lack of ability to verbally communicate, Oreo kept on loving me. He still crawls into bed with me each night. He still climbs into my lap after I’ve been away.
Love at first sight is just a beginning. Love that lasts is a series of continuous choices – despite the pains and heartaches every relationship encounters.