Love and Names

When they got him, he fit in the palm of Susie’s hand and they called him Chester. Chester was no ones first choice for his name, but it was the only one they could all agree on so it stuck. Chester liked to cuddle beneath Susie’s long hair, and his brown fur blended with her brunette curls. The striped tabby tom was the darling of Susie’s eye and it was she who noticed that he outgrew his name in the first three weeks.

“He doesn’t really look like a Chester anymore,” she said to her sister. Chester chased a foil ball underneath the couch and emerged shortly after carrying it in his mouth.

“He’s finally started answering to it, though,” Lara said. Chester dropped to wrestle with his foil ball. They supposed he was trying to look ferocious, but instead he looked adorable. It was hard for Chester to look anything but adorable. Tabby striped brown fur fluffed out around him and his kitten paws over sized for his body did not a ferocious feline make.

“I think he looks like a bear,” Susie said and scooped him up. She looked into his amber eyes. “What do you think, Chester? Are you a Baloo?” Chester mewed that he wanted to be put down. Susie took it as assent.

**********

“He’s going to be a big cat,” Lara said. The once palm sized Chester Baloo no longer fit under Susie’s hair but had taken to draping across her shoulders like a mink stole. He seemed to enjoy being eye height to humans.

Susie scratched Chester Baloo’s head and enjoyed the way his purr massaged her neck. “He’s long. Like long cat long.”

Lara made a face. “Couldn’t you have come up with a better description?”

“Fine,” Susie said. “Chester is more like a ferret than a cat in length, but not in personality, and he will be the equivalent of an all star basketball player in height and leanness.” Chester Baloo closed his eyes and continued purring.

“Then we may as well call him Jordan,” Lara said.

**********

Chester Baloo Jordan outgrew his names the way flowers bloom in time-lapse photography. Susie called him Baloo. Lara called him Jordan. Dad called him Magneto. Mom said, “Good morning to you, Timbuktu”  every day when she fed him breakfast. In company they mostly called him Chester.

Perhaps it could be said that Chester Baloo Jordan Magneto Timbuktu didn’t care what he was called. He just purred, and had the distinction of being as long as his name.

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