The cat's not coming out from under the porch. No way. He's curled up like a cheeze puff, and he ain't going nowhere. Sun through the rough boards, striping that cat all up with warm. That cat is fixing to stay. Maybe sling some kittens. You never know.
The boy is staring into the sun, blinking. He's got no shirt on and overalls, and he looks just like a Norman Rockwell, but for the bruises and the skinny. He's acting like he don't care about the cat. He can't afford to have anyone see him being soft. Not for no stray cat.
There's no woman inside and there is no sense of woman around the cabin. There is a low rumble of contained rage. The whiskey is prodding the old man, reminding him of the injustices he has suffered. Soon, he'll yell and the boy will take off running. Sometimes, he stays out for days.
The old man is in a death spiral; he is dancing himself through the flames of mediocrity. He has given up, and he is falling. He is shaking in the blackness of his sorrow, but he can't see out. Every time he starts to care, he drinks the care away.
The highway curls along, licking soot onto the trees. Cars pass through from all over, and sometimes they see smoke whirling into the sky. And sometimes, suburban dads say, "God, it must be wonderful to live out here."
Nobody knows each other. Not for reals. That's just talk.