The first man who broke my heart was a black cat named Boogie Woogie. He became my cat in February of 1980 and he was my first pet.
Back in the 70s and 80s, the schools in Chicago stayed on strike and it was during one of these strikes that Boogie came into my life. It was a snowy day and I was outside playing in the snow with my friends Rosalyn and Derrick when we saw a man walking down the block.
He was a tall, dark skinned Black man wearing a black wool trench coat, a black fedora hat on his head, and a black cat wrapped around his neck (I swear I’m not lying). Derrick asked the gentleman,”Can this little girl have that cat? She loves cats and need one because her house has a mouse.” And we did. The fucker had chewed up one of my dolls.
The gentleman took the cat off his neck and gave him to me and strode off down the street, never to be seen again. I took my new cat into the house and fed him some lunch meat and when my mother came home from work, she was greeted by the sight of me laying down on the couch with my new pet that I christened Boogie Woogie. Can’t remember why I gave him that name but he was Boogie Woogie for then on.
Boogie was in my life for just two short years but during those two years, he became my little buddy. He would walk me to school and would be waiting on the porch when I got home. He slept with me nightly under the covers and would sit next to me when I read to him.
My mama wasn’t a cat person but she tolerated him and would toss him the innards of the whole chicken she cooked every Sunday. I can see them right now with him waiting patiently to get his weekly treat and her rolling her eyes but still feeding him.
He was an outdoor male cat who wasn’t neutered so sometimes he wandered off for weeks but he always came back to me. But one day he didn’t and I never saw Boogie again. For years, I dreamed about him and in those dreams, he came home and jumped into my bed purring like crazy because he missed me too.
During the years since Boogie left, I’ve had many cats and currently have one, a bad ass cat named Diddy but Boogie will always have a special corner in my heart. My first pet. My buddy. And if there’s a place where souls go after they cross over, I’ll see my Boogie Woogie again when it’s my time.
Those two years he was in my life were very special and he made a little Black girl happy although his absence brought pain. I will cherish those two years forever and will always remember a black cat named Boogie Woogie.