As the yellow bus pulled up in front of her house, Iris saw the sheet of white paper flit across the lawn and finally get snagged on one of the bushes. She tucked her French book into her knapsack and ran towards the opening doors.
“Sorry, Mr. Stanley.”
“And look both ways.”
“Bien sûr.” she said as she flipped her hand out like an aristocrat waiving off hangers-on.
In front of the house, she grabbed the paper before it journeyed further down the street.
“You. You are … a cat. And you will live with us in our humble mansion. Bonjour, Monsieur Miles!”
She started folding the paper. Giving it some ears. Assembling legs down the front.
“This will have to do,” she thought. “He’ll be home soon.” She gingerly cradled her new friend as she unlocked the front door and ran up the stairs.
After he was set up in his perch, Iris turned around to see Miles’ shadow cast along the old wooden floor. She became giddy with excitement and turned back around to look for the car. Within minutes the Bonneville turned into the driveway and Iris went to greet her father.
“Sorry, Honey. I didn’t know the meeting would go so late. Did you have to wait long?”
“Did you see him?!” Iris blurted then smiled showing just about every tooth in her head.
She yanked him by his hand off the porch to the front yard then faced him towards the house.
“In the top right window!”
“Behind the trash?”
“Très stupide. C’est un papier mâché chat!” Iris said in her best French accent.
“Très, très stupide. Il s’appelle Miles!”
“I think you’re calling me stupid. Are you calling me stupid?”
“Oui,” Iris said with relief.
“So, I’m looking at … a cat?”
“Who traveled miles and miles to get here?”
Finally giving up, Iris exclaimed, “He’s NAMED Miles as in Miles Davis. You know the French love their Jazz musicians.”
His wife had loved having a jazz record spin while she made dinner for the three of them. He marveled at how resilient Iris had been and how he had not. Memories he usually fought, slowly trickled in and he decided not to put up a fight.
“So, what do you think?” Iris asked.
“She would’ve loved him.”
“Bien sûr. And you?”
“Oui.” Iris said again with her new aristocratic flair.