The Boy Named Sue was a gorgeous white cat with the cleverness of a fox and a temper that didn’t suffer fools. He was stunning to look at, long haired with a little pink nose and two different colored eyes, one blue and one gold. We always joked that each eye held half his personality, which was pretty much split down the middle. He’d seek you out to pet him, but the claws came out once he wanted to be left alone. He was sweet and cuddly, but would cut a bitch if she tried to give him a bath. He got into everything, even as a kitten, chewing on some dried paint brushes that gave him a a blue beard for weeks. He had been with me since before my first child, and came along to the gallery in 2013. I adored him.
From the first night I brought Sue to the place, he took a real shine to Richard, my boyfriend and business partner. He climbed right up onto the bed and settled on Richard’s lap, though he rarely did this with me. Within a week that cat was usually sitting in Richard’s chair, on his side of the bed, or on his lap. They were almost inseparable.
He made himself very comfortable at the gallery: Climbing up on shelves In my art studio, disappearing for hours, only to return and brush against Richard’s legs when he was hungry. He’d lay on Him while they both took naps, greet people that came to the gallery, decorate the furniture with his cat hair and sleep in the kick drum on the stage. He was a living part of the space, and something people looked forward to when they came to visit us. His little tufts of fur were everywhere.
Sue became a lot slower in 2018. He dropped some weight and slept a lot more, though he’d always follow Richard to the gallery in the morning. One night in the late fall, Sue passed away, sitting in his favorite chair, by the window.
We cried over him for days, my other cats were sad, and everything just felt wrong without him. We closed the gallery for the rest of the week.
I stamped his paw in some gold paint, and took him to rest at the hill in Perry County where my other cats were buried.
Richard said goodbye as I carried him out in the little basket. Its one of the few times I have ever seen him cry.
* * * * * * *
A few days later, Richard was in his recording studio, working on some tracks, when he felt something brush against his leg. He was alone in the gallery, but he swears it felt just like Sue, asking for cat food, and he’s not the type make up stories.
Weeks later, I was in my art studio working, and had taken my headphones off to charge them. Before I could stand up I heard a loud creak from the shelving area to the right, like something had jumped up and landed on the top. When I turned around and looked, nothing was there. It weirded me out.
Months later I was in the same room, taking a nap on my couch, when I had a very clear dream that Sue was sitting on the desk, watching me sleep. I woke up and opened my eyes, and of course he wasn’t there. But the dream felt so real. I laid there pondering, when I heard a faint creaking sound come from the other side of the room.
Once or twice I would think i saw something in the corner of my eye, following me around the gallery. One night I was sitting next to a small table in the stage room, going over an email on my phone. I heard a very faint ‘thud’.. as if something had jumped up and landed on it. I smiled to myself because at that point I’d decided it was probably Sue.
A few years came and went, and these occurrences were pretty typical. One of the motion sensor cameras outside my studio would go off randomly, as if following movement, though nothing in that section of the room was moving at all. We just got used to it.
One night, a friend came to visit me at the gallery. I’d been taking care of an alley cat for a while, and he would hang out in the building with me sometimes, when he felt like it. My friend arrived, and the alley cat came around the corner to say hello. He walked toward us, across the checkerboard floor, and my friend motioned to him to come to her.
“Aww, you have Two cats!” she exclaimed.
“Huh? “ I said, looking perplexed..., “no, I just have one. This is the alley cat I’m trying to home. Do you need a cat?”
“No,“ she said, “there’s two! that’s your white cat, over there by the desk!”
I felt my face empty blood and turned around to where she pointed.
“WHITE CAT???” I said, “WHERE?”
Again, she pointed to the left side of the desk, and walked towards it.
“He’s right there. On the floor near the vent.“
She looked at me quizzically as she realized what was happening, both of us smiling awkwardly.
“But Sue is dead,“ I said, staring in amazement. “He died several years ago. Didn’t I tell you that?”
The alley cat had come over to us and was looking at the same area across the room. I knew she was telling the truth. I got goosebumps as I watched them both stare at the floor, by the desk.
“I can’t see him.” I said, softly. “I wish I could. I have always felt he was still here. But I’ve never seen him.”
The whole thing was totally unexpected, and it made me happy and sad all at once. I missed him for a while after that.
A few months later, I was briefly part of a ghost investigation team. During a review of evidence, one of the team members caught some interesting video and sound glitching on his surveillance program.
He kindly gave us the flash drive with some instructions, and together, Richard and I went over it on the laptop.
At first, we heard nothing, but Richard used one of his editing programs to increase the Low sound frequencies, and to our amazement, you could faintly hear the sound of a cat purring. At points, you could hear a heartbeat. Together these sounds felt very “alive.”
It went on for several minutes, clear as day, then faded out. I will never forget the amazement of hearing that. With everything I already knew, I actually cried. Richard was awestruck, and again he’s not the type to fall for metaphysical B.S.
That experience left an impression on both of us. It made me see things around us very differently.
I think it’s possible that the things we love stay with us forever, in some form, whether we are aware of them or not. The energy of Love binds us together across dimensions, whether we understand it or not.
I keep hoping to catch a glimpse of The Boy Named Sue, but I still haven’t seen him yet. Maybe he’s waiting a bit longer.
He was always kinda tricky.