Everyone in the apartment complex I lived in knew who Ugly was.
Ugly was the resident tomcat. Ugly loved three things in the world...fighting, eating garbage and shall we say, being loved.
The combination of these things combined with a life spent outside, had their effect on Ugly. To start with, he had only one eye and where the other should have been was a gaping hole.
He was also missing his ear on the same side, his left foot appeared to have been badly broken at one time, and had healed at an unusual angle, making him look like he was always turning the corner.
His tail has long ago been lost, leaving only the smallest stub, which he would constantly jerk and twitch.
Ugly would have been a dark blue tabby, striped-type, except for the sores covering his head, neck and even his shoulders with thick, yellowing scabs.
Everytime someone saw Ugly there was the same reaction.
"That is one UGLY cat!!"
All the children were warned not to touch him, the adults threw rocks at him, hosed him down, squirted him when he tried to come in their houses, or shut his paws in the door when he would not leave.
Ugly always had the same reaction. If you turned the hose on him, he would stand there, getting soaked until you gave up and quit.
If you threw things at him, he would curl his lanky body around your feet in forgiveness.
Whenever he spied children, he would come running, meowing frantically and bump his head against their hands, begging for their love.
If you ever picked him up, he would immediately begin sucking on your shirt, earrings, whatever he could find.
One day Ugly shared his love with the neighbor's huskies. They did not respond kindly, and Ugly was badly mauled. From my apartment I could hear his screams, and I tried to rush to his aid.
By the time I got to where he was laying,it was apparent Ugly's sad life was almost at an end.
Ugly lay in a wet circle, his back legs and lower back twisted grossly out of shape, a gaping tear in the white strip of fur that ran down his front.
As I picked him up and tried to carry him home, I could hear him wheezing and gasping. It must be hurting him terribly.
Then I felt a familiar tugging, sucking sensation at my ear. Ugly, in all his pain, obviously close to death, was trying to suck on my ear.
I pulled him closer to me, I could hear the distinct sound of purring. Even in the greatest pain, that ugly battle-scarred cat was asking only for a little affection and compassion.
At that moment, I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I had ever seen.
Never once did he try to bite or scratch me, Ugly just looked up at me completely trusting in me to relieve his pain.
Ugly died in my arms before I could get inside, but I sat and held him for a long time afterwards.
This Ugly stray had completely altered my opinion about what it means to have pureness of spirit, to love completely.
Ugly taught me more about giving and compassion than a thousand books.
He was scarred on the outside, but I was scarred on the inside and it was time for me to move on and learn to love truly and deeply.
Many people want to be richer, more successful, well liked, beautiful, but for me?????
I will always try to be UGLY!!!!!