As recounted by a resident, the presence of a certain character was common knowledge in the apartment complex where he resided. This individual, named Ugly, held four things dear: brawling, dining, junk, and what he understood as love, as reported by fsrn.
The amalgamation of these behaviors, along with a life spent outdoors, had significantly impacted Ugly’s physique. To begin, he was missing an eye, replaced with a chilling void. His other missing part was an ear on the same side, and his left leg seemed to have endured a severe fracture once. This injury had healed at a strange angle, causing it to perpetually seem as if it was rounding a corner. His tail was lost to time, leaving behind a short nub that he would continuously fiddle with.
Every encounter with Ugly sparked the same response, “What an ugly cat!” Parents would caution their children to stay away from him. Adults attempted to scare him away with rocks or hosing him down. But Ugly, unfazed, would sit unmoving until the hostile strangers abandoned their attempts and left him be.
If you were to throw things at him, he would curl up at your feet in a display of forgiveness. If you lifted him, he’d immediately begin to suck on your shirt or ears, anything he could find.
One day, Ugly tried to show affection to the Huskies next door. Unfortunately, they didn’t reciprocate and instead, he ended up severely injured.
His cries reached me in my apartment, and I hastened to his aid. When I found him, he was clearly on the brink of death. Fearful that my touch would cause him further pain, I carried him home. His labored breathing and struggle were audible, but then I noticed something familiar. Ugly was sucking on my ear. I drew him closer, and he nudged me gently with his head.
He then directed his single golden eye towards me, and I heard the unmistakable sound of purring. In that instant, I perceived Ugly as the most magnificent and affectionate creature I had ever encountered. Ugly drew his last breath in my arms before I could get him any help, but I stayed with him for a while after, reflecting on how a disfigured, little stray had altered my perception of purity of spirit and what it truly means to love unconditionally.
Ugly’s life, his embodiment of love and compassion, imparted lessons that surpassed those of a thousand books, lectures, or documentaries I could have consumed.