We had a cat in New Zealand and I don’t why. His name was Figaro, after the opera. All black, always on edge. Some of my earliest memories involve reaching a hand out to pat him and getting scratched, every time. I wanted to love him, but he didn’t seem to know it was possible; his mistrust of humans was complete. The first time I told my father, showed him the little drops of blood sliding off my finger. I wanted to know how to make friends with a cat. But that was years away, another country, another cat. I hoped my father could tell me; adults tell you so many things. But he chased him instead. When he caught him, he spanked him. Soon Figaro ran from both of us, on sight. But I never stopped trying. It would be weeks until I could get close enough to reach out a hand again. In the dining room, by the record player. He shrank back, flattened ears and blazing eyes, took a quick swipe. He sliced open my finger. And I kept it a secret.