Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mohammed and the Cat

Clementine found herself sitting on top of a cabinet in a room she knew was not in the yarn lady’s condo.  Automatically she went into defense mode, every hair on her body standing on end.  To her right sat a man with a cat in his lap and as she watched a group of people walked into the room and sat down on benches.  They were all speaking a language Clem did not understand and although one of them looked in her direction he did not seem to notice her.  Oh, this was all too strange. 
The man with the cat on his lap began to speak and after the first sentence or so, Clem found she could understand what he said.  He was talking about the cat in his lap, who he said was named Muezza.  He said that Muezza was a creature created by Allah and that she, and all cats, should be cherished and loved.  He spoke of how all the people and creatures of the world were beloved of the Creator and it was the duty of all responsible Muslims to show those all the same respect shown to a beloved family member.  He continued on in this vein for a few minutes and then wished everyone in the room a blessed and productive day.  They quietly filed out of the room but the man who had been speaking continued to sit where he was gently stroking the cat. 
“Ah, Muezza, you have taught me so much about how we all should love each other.  I am nothing like you, but you love me and care for me.  You have four legs and are covered with fur.  The black of your eyes is not round like mine, but oval, and maybe that is why you see the world differently.  You respect the other beings you share this house with and even when you kill the vermin that want to infest our house, you show respect for them by consuming them to nourish your body.  By catching the vermin you show love and respect for us humans, as they could carry diseases that could make us sick.  And the love you show for me, oh Muezza, you have taught me so much.  Even when I am in a foul mood and speak disrespectfully to you or do not return your love you do not respond to me in kind.  You purr at me or rub up against me to show me that you love me no matter what I am doing right at that moment.  You see the best in me, and encourage me to be the best man that I can be.  How did I ever deserve someone like you in my life?  You love me and teach me how to be a better person.  Truly, I, Mohammed, have been blessed by your presence in my life.”
At that the cat stirred.  She stretched and stood up in the man’s lap, placing her front paws on his chest and butted his chin with her head.  He bent down his head and she gently nuzzled his face in what Clementine knew was the cat equivalent of a kiss.  Oh, the love these two had for each other, it was so beautiful.  They sat for another few moments and then the man announced that he needed to bathe.  He gently lifted the cat from his lap and carried her from the room.  Clem followed, since no one seemed to be able to see her. 
The man carried Muezza into what appeared to be his bedroom and placed her on his bed, removed his robe and carefully arranged it on the bed so that it would not wrinkle.  With one more caress to Muezza he walked from the room.  Clem had no desire to watch the man take his shower, or do whatever he did to get clean, so instead she settled on the floor in a corner where she wouldn’t be stepped on if anyone came in.  Although people didn’t seem to be able to see her she didn’t know if she could maybe be stepped on and she didn’t want to take any chances.  Muezza stood up and moved around until she found a comfortable position on the bed and settled down to sleep. 
Clementine settled herself comfortably and began to think about what she had seen and what was going on.  The last thing she remembered before she found herself in this strange place was reading on the iPad about Mohammed and his cat.  No, that wasn’t quite right.  She’d decided to do some more research and had found the website with the cat with the strange eyes.  That was the last thing she remembered before finding herself here.  Maybe she was dreaming; that would make sense.  In a dream it would make perfect sense for folks not to be able to see her.   
But how in a dream would she find out the cat’s name was Muezza?  It hadn’t been in the article she’d read.  The article talked about how Mohammed and the cat sleeping on his sleeve, not about him giving sermons with a cat on his lap.  How strange.  It was beautiful though how much the man and the cat cared for each other.  There was genuine love between them, just like herself and the yarn lady.  Clem didn’t know much of anything about Islam or Mohammed, but he must be a wise and good man from the way he talked about caring for all creatures. 
Mohammed walked back into the room, drying himself with a towel.  He moved quietly, seeing that Muezza was sound asleep.  He approached the bed and made a small sound of dismay.  Clem looked over and saw that Muezza had fallen asleep on the sleeve of the man’s robe.  He sighed and closed his eyes.  Just then Clem was startled by a loud melodic voice saying something she could not quite understand.  Mohammed also startled and stared intently at the bed.  He looked at Muezza, obviously hoping the call had awoken her, but she slept soundly, little snores coming from her nose.  He crossed his arms and thought for a moment, and then the man carefully went around the side of his bed and worked his hands into the neck of the garment.  He felt around for a moment and then spread the neck opening as wide as he could.  Finally he made a satisfied sound and began to pull gently at something.  A thread fell between his hands and made a small pile on the bed as he continued to pull.  After a few moments he gave a strong tug and dropped the end of the string.  He smiled and lifted the robe, now minus one sleeve, off the bed.  He carefully put it on and walked quickly from the room. 
Clementine watched all this in amazement.  This was the answer to her question.  He wasn’t asleep in the robe as the website had indicated, the robe had been on the bed where the cat had fallen asleep on top of it.  And well, he didn’t exactly tear the sleeve off the robe, he unraveled the thread from the sleeve.  But since no one was here to witness it, it probably looked as though he had torn the sleeve off.  She decided to follow Mohammed to see what happened next.
The man walked through the house and one of his servants asked him what had happened to his robe.  Mohammed waved the man off and said he would explain later and now he must answer the call to prayer.  He walked from the house and down the street to a place where other men had gathered.  While they waited a few moments for others to arrive, the others asked him why he was wearing a robe with only one sleeve.  Mohammed shrugged and told them that Muezza had been asleep on the robe and he had not wanted to disturb her.  It was the kind thing to do to tear the sleeve off rather than disturb one of Allah’s creatures.  Several of the men laughed at this, but others nodded wisely as though they agreed.  Having heard this, Clem turned to find a quiet place where she could continue to observe the men.  She rounded a stack of wooden crates and found herself face to face with a strange cat with hypnotic eyes.  It looked like the one on the website.  She gazed into the cat’s eyes….

Clem awoke to the sound of the yarn lady’s voice asking her if the iPad was a comfortable place to take a nap.  She shook her head, disoriented yet again.  She’d just been, well, somewhere.  She didn’t know where Mohammed lived, but she’d been there, or maybe had dreamed about being there.  For the moment it didn’t matter, as the heat was on, the yarn lady was there scratching her ears.  That was enough for Clem to be happy with her life.
A few hours later, her cat curiosity reasserted itself.  The yarn lady was sound asleep and the iPad was in the living room.  Maybe she could do a little more research on Mohammed and his cat.  Find out perhaps if anyone had recorded the cat’s name, or if there were other stories that would either confirm or refute her experience, or dream or whatever it had been.
A lengthy search confirmed everything she’d seen.  Several sources confirmed the cat’s name as Muezza, and Clem could see from the color of the site names in the search engine result list that these were sites she hadn’t visited before, so it wasn’t like she’d read the name and forgotten it.  There was also information about how Mohammed had preached sermons to his household staff about how cats should be loved and cared for, and that was exactly what he had said. 
After clearing all the tabs she’d opened Clem sat back for a long think.  What exactly had occurred?  Had she really been to wherever and whenever Mohammed and Muezza had lived?  That really wasn’t possible.  Books and movies aside, there was no such thing as time travel or teleportation, much less both of them at the same time.  It must have been a dream, but oh, what a dream.

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