Like most children, I think, I was a little sensitive to spirits. I would see shadows standing in the doorway of my bedroom at night or crouching in the corner near my closet. I also had a very developed imagination- before I would go to bed at night I would close my eyes and watch cartoons, just like the preview cartoons they used to show at drive-in theaters (strangely, all of the cartoons I made seemed to be from the 1920’s and had no sound). I only mention this because I used to tell my mother about the shadows I would see in the doorway to my bedroom and closet and she would pass it off as daydreams, just like my strange cartoons.
When I was five, my cat died. It was very sudden and I was stricken with grief. He had been my companion since I was a baby- he was always with me. You would be hard pressed to find a photo of me from the age of 1-5 without Shanghai in it. I could not accept that he was gone. I stopped eating and sleeping. It was probably the third night after he had passed when he came back. I was under the covers, crying, when I felt something jump up on my bed. I knew that weight anywhere- it was him. I felt him walk up the bed and over my legs. I peeked my head out and there he was- very fuzzy, like someone had taken an out of focused picture of him, and white, but it was him. He curled up behind me in his usual spot (between my backside and my knees) and I felt his big rumbly purr. I did not even think twice- it sounds cliche, but I was totally at peace with his passing at that moment and fell right asleep. In the morning my mom came in and woke me. I told her about the visit and she gave me a sad smile and told me that Shanghai was in heaven and could not come back. It was then that she noticed the indentation in the covers next to me. It was the sort that a very heavy cat would leave after laying in one spot for a long time.
He never came back again, but he did not have to. I think he was just stopping by one more time to make sure I was ok.