Learning how to smile at a cat, holding its eyes, waiting for it to smile back: making a pact. If you don’t know how, like a magician guarding his tricks, I’m not telling. Cats are a coven; there’s a series of tests, and then you’re in. You keep yourselves a secret. You pool your strength. Standing in an old lady’s backyard; I don’t remember who she was. My mother’s friend? My mother’s friend’s mother? People come and go when you’re always moving. But I remember standing in her backyard of shadowy grass and unruly rhododendron bushes, watching a black and white cat pad through the leaves. The old woman came up behind me and asked if I knew how to smile at a cat. I hadn’t realized anyone else knew. Any other people. I demonstrated on the spot: sent out a cat smile. The cat stopped, absorbed it, studied me for a few seconds, and smiled back. A small triumph. A perfect moment.