I confess to you that I haven’t an interesting enough life to harbour truly deep, dark secrets. However, we all have moments of questionable behavior, or things in our past which we are forever condemned to look back upon, with our present knowledge and shake our heads in shame of our ignorance. My dilemma is really more the latter. I confide in you, gentle reader, that I have yet to tell my cat, Banshee, that she’s adopted.
I did it at first as a kindness. I was certain that the news would be too much for such a young kitten to fully grasp. However, as she advanced in age, she began asking questions, and fearing for her feelings, I may have, on occasion, softened the truth a bit. Ever the precocious feline, one father’s day she looked at me and inquired;
“Sir,” She began, for I’ve taught her to call all her elders Sir, regardless of gender, or in my case lack there of.
“Sir, do I have a father?”
I was taken aback by the boldness of her question. Fumbling for an answer, I abruptly replied “Why yes, of course.”
“Then pray tell Sir, why is he never around?”
She had such a wounded look in her eyes as she plead with me for an answer to this question, which no doubt plagued her every waking moment, that I brashly retorted “because he’s an actor, and very busy.”
“Oh, would I be familiar with his body of work?” She ventured, her eyes now wide with excitement. The words that then flew from my mouth were as much a shock to me as they were to her.
“Well I should certainly hope you are acquainted with the work of Robert Downey Jr.”
She gasped with the delirious joy only youth may know. Immediately, I felt a ping of remorse for having offered such a bald faced lie, but then, what harm could it do? It was unlikely she would ever have opportunity to meet the man, and what harm is there in offering a bit of comfort to the girl, even if it was false as the devil himself.
“Yes.” I continued. “That’s why you’ve always been on the petite side, you take after him in that respect.”
Surely at this point you must be saying to yourself, how utterly absurd! Such a coupling could never produce viable offspring, let alone a cat. On this you are most certainly correct. However, such notions would never enter my dear girl’s head, as I have taken it upon myself to home school her, and thus preserve her innocence. She’ll learn of such things on her wedding night, and not a moment before.
My answer seemed to have satisfied her, and very little in our lives changed, other than her newfound preoccupation with watching Iron Man on DVD. Our vet was even kind enough to indulge us, changing the name on her file to Banshee Downey Jr.. I rather liked the sound of it, so I had no complaints.
It is only now that I find myself wondering if I haven’t perhaps done her a great disservice by concocting such a yarn. What if by some chance she does discover the truth? How can I ever possibly explain my actions? I fear that instead of sparing her a rather unpleasant reality, I merely delayed it’s debut, making the truth all the more repugnant when finally revealed.
I ask your counsel dear reader. You, who are removed from these events, and able to look upon the dilemma at hand with a mind free from bias. I find myself at my wits end, and fear I cannot be trusted to make a rational decision. What would you do in my place?
-Marco A. Shatter