Banky, named after the Jason Lee character in “Chasing Amy” (sorry, Ben Affleck, but you can’t get everything!), came into my life the day after Halloween fifteen years ago.
I was living in California and married to The Ex Who Shall Not Be Named. We had just finished grocery shopping and were exiting the store, when a little boy, about 8 or 9, jumped into our path. “You want a kitten, mister?”
He then thrust the tiniest, most adorable, little black ball of fur as close to my face as possible. The fur ball was quite yappy, but made no efforts to escape from my grip as I took him for a closer look.
“You gonna take him, mister? You gonna take him?” the persistent little salesman pestered, but he needn’t wanted the breath. It was love at first sight.
The Ex and I had just been talking about how we should get a kitten now that we had finally moved out of her Dad’s place and gotten our own apartment. I don’t usually make big decisions so quickly, but I agreed right away that we were taking the kitten home. The boy told us he was two months old, so we settled on September 1 as his birthday.
The nameless ball of fur sat in my lap the entire car ride back to the apartment. He yapped a little, but there was no major fuss. Since we had no cat supplies, the Ex decided that she would go to Petco while I bonded with the little guy.
It was a Sunday, so I put on the football game, sat on the living room floor, and tried to explain the rules to my new kitten son. He was more interested in the big, baggy shorts I was wearing, crawled inside and fell asleep on my right leg under my shorts. It was so adorable.
We bonded on that day, and it was always clear that he was my cat.
I named him Banky because “Chasing Amy” was one of my favorite flicks, and I’d never heard it used as a cat name. I wanted his name to be unique like mine had been, before Austin became so hip and cool. The Ex was pushing for Chewbacca, but Banky was my kitty, so he got the name I wanted.
Banky loved sitting on top of my computer monitor to watch me write. Sometimes, he’d reach down and swat at the letters as they magically appeared on the screen. He used to curl up and fall asleep on warm script pages when they were fresh out of the printer.
Now that I have a laptop, Banky will sit next to me and stare at the words on the screen. When he wants attention, he’ll rub his head against the laptop screen. He clearly is a writer’s cat.
He misses his Mommy very much (he considers The Mommy Who Is Away At Doctor School to be his mother, not that scamp who walked out on us ten years ago) and will always get on the phone to talk to her when she calls. Seriously, The Girl Who Loves Banky will have me put the phone down to him, she’ll talk to him, and Banklyn will yap or purr back at her. It’s pretty adorable.
So Happy Birthday, Banky! I love you, not only because you give me serious street cred with my Witch friends, or because you love the Yankees and Notre Dame, or because you’re always here for me when I need a friend.
I love you because you’re the coolest cat in the world, and you chose me on that fateful day fifteen years ago.
Plus, even though you hate all strangers, you immediately made The Girl Who Is Your Mommy feel right at home on our very first date.