If he were a human boy, he'd be losing himself on hikes in the mountains, or falling into wells, or ever-working himself into creatively dangerous tight spots. But he's not human. He's a cat.
And so he shadows Dave like a bobcat, following him into the shed and out back to the wood pile, and down to the car that doesn't run anymore. When Dave opens the door and rummages in the glove compartment to find whatever he went looking for, Felix hatches a plan and motions to Mittens to follow his lead. They slip unnoticed into the back seat and press up against the darkness, pretending they've found themselves a cave. It's all great fun for twelve minutes, and then Felix thinks, Rescue me.
It takes Dave four days to narrow his search to that burgandy cave, but it's his hand that opens the door, finally. And after the desperate duo emerge and slurp their fill of water and eat themselves sick, it's Felix who plants himself at Dave's feet and licks a thank you on the hand that saved him.
On another day, he imagines himself a jaguar chasing prey across an African plain, and bounds his little black and white body across our front yard, eyes gleaming with hunt-thrill. When the imaginary prey takes a left at the end of the driveway and shoots up the cedar trunk, Felix follows ... and follows ... and follows, until the mirage disappears and he finds himself to be nothing more than a very lost, very un-jaguarish teenager cat--stuck in a tree. Rescue me, he thinks.
Dave hears. He calls and coaxes and climbs--the ladder, first, and then a dozen tree limbs. Felix is content--purrfectly so, actually--to ride a humble descent in the folds of Dave's jacket. He's content to be carried into the house, and petted, and eased to a carpet spot in front of a mellow fire.
And Dave, I notice, is content to watch the object of his rescue. When he stokes the fire, he strokes the cat. When Felix turns occasionally to check if he's still there, Dave smiles and speaks his name in a tender voice. I watch the encounter, and watch the way Dave's eyes return again and again to that warming black blob on the floor, and I have to wonder.
Was this how you felt, Lord, when you rescued me?