The library cat, kafka, belongs to himself and to the Library. But I sometimes get jealous of all his other friends. Though I am perhaps most responsible for this cat, many people have taken him on as someone to watch out for and take care of. Yesterday I found kafka with an old man in a corner of the newspaper area. I have known the man for many, many years. He is rough and a bit ragged, always striking me as one of those people on some edge of homelessness. I don't think I have ever exchanged a word with him, and I've never seen him check out Library material. He had laid out large sheets of newspaper in front of him, presumably not the library's, and was hand feeding kafka sardines, with those newspapers protecting our carpet. There was no shyness in kafka as he ate, and the two of them seemed peaceable together, and settled, perhaps even practiced, in their exchange. That jealous part of me wanted to find something officious, or something wrong about it. Sometimes it is hard to tell if we are succumbing, or being responsible.
I crouched at a respectful distance.
"Those are water packed?" I asked.
The man nodded with a strange shyness. I nodded back and returned to shelving. Actually, I was a bit jealous of them both.