After the kids have gone to bed, I round up the cats for their dinner. They like to be outside in the evening when it cools down, so they don’t always come in when I call them. I wait a while, then try again. Eventually it’ll be fully dark and I’ll go outside to find them. The traffic will be lighter by then, and the daytime heat will be fading into a cool evening. I walk the length of the parking lot, savoring the crunch of gravel under my feet, the scent of the night air, the stars. Sometimes there’s a red ring around the moon, or frogs calling, or fireflies blinking in the trees. I might call to the cats once or twice, but I don’t have to. By the time I’ve walked to the end of the parking lot and turned around, there’s usually a cat waiting behind me. I don’t know where they come from; they blend into the shadows, but even in full daylight they can hide from me if they want to. If I’m lucky, by the time I get back to the house, they’ll both be following at my heels.
The one we call the White Ninja likes to make sure we both know that she does as she pleases. But last night she came in early, for whatever reasons, only she knows. When I went to call the other cat, she was waiting at the door. They were ready for their dinner, but I wasn’t. The evening was too alluring to ignore, so I stepped out and walked the parking lot anyway, just to take in the delicious air and the quiet darkness, before we all settled in for the night.