What’s that noise? I think it is coming from the kitchen, so I move and peek from the office door and watch. Is mom upset? Because she is forcing Joey into a cage. Why would she do this? He is howling and fighting to get free. A patch of his hair falls to the floor. He looks horrified and keeps screaming as mom latches the door shut. I don’t understand. She would never harm us.
Next, I see her pick up CharLee and stuff her inside another large cage. CharLee holds the door open and is screeching. She scratches mom with her long nails. I see the blood begin to form around moms’ wound. Yet, this does not stop her. She pushes CharLee back inside and again slams the door shut and locks the latch Though CharLee is screaming, mom ignores her pleas and I watch as she runs from room to room, bringing with her bits of clothing and personal items. I watch as she stuffs them in a plastic bag.
Her gaze turns to me. There is panic in her face, so I back up as she approaches. I hear her say, “Come here, little guy. Mommy loves you; I won’t hurt you. Come here, sweetie.” Well, I’ve heard those words before, and they mean only one thing – something I shall surely detest is about to happen.
The dogs, Harry and Rooney rush to her which averts her attention from me. I take this chance to hide in the closet and pick a spot I can still peer out to see what is going on but be safe from getting discovered. I watch mom attach a leash to both dog’s collar. Guess it is ‘potty time’ Yet, she tells them to stay and she’ll be right back. I cannot see her now
She is calling for me, but I stay silent. Something is going on and I do not want to be a part of any of it. I hear scuffling and then the slam of the front door. I slip into the secret hiding place within the wall. She’ll never find me here.
You see, I know mom is growing old. She already must carry two animals and pull the two dogs, on foot. I know dad takes the car each day, so I wonder why she must do this now.
As if to answer my question, she shouts out, ‘Mommy has to go, sweetie. They are evacuating us. Fire is heading our way. Please, honey, please come to mama”
Fire. I’ve seen pictures of it on TV and I did burn myself by touching the hot burner on the stove-top. Mom told me to be careful; that I could catch the house on fire. So, I know fire is not a good thing.
After two more attempts to get me to come with her, I hear footsteps leaving the room. I am so afraid. If only mom knew how much I want to leap into the safety of her arms and be carried away. If only there was a means to tell her how much I love her. I love her so much that I must be brave and strong this time. I must remain hidden until she leaves.
The wind is howling through the rooftop and I hear mom talking to someone outside. I can’t make out what she is saying. Maybe I should run to her right now and tell her she is right; that I am weak and cowardly. Dad and mom are always saying I don’t have to be afraid, but everything scares me. Well, this is my time to prove them wrong.
I run to the window and peer out. Mom is gone as well as the animals. It is getting dark now. The last thing I heard mom say to me was she loves me. The room is filled with something I’ve never seen before. It is thickening the air and it is grayish-black in color. It smells funny. I hear crackling above me.
Look, mom, I am not afraid anymore. I am brave and strong as you asked of me each day. I hold your last words of love within my heart as I fall into a deep sleep from the smoke-filled room.
It has been a couple of weeks since I last saw my family and my mom. I keep hearing her calling my name and directing me to where she and dad are now living. The force of their love is drawing me toward them. But I can’t get through into their dimension. I am now floating through space and time and find myself on a farm. I see dad drive up and when he opens the car door, I jump into his arms.
Dad cuddles me and holds me close to his heart and rushes to open the milk barn door and bring me to my mom. She squeals with delight and grabs me from dad’s arms and puts me on the bed. She strokes my hair and kisses my head. It feels so good to be home. I sit in her lap and purr and purr and purr.
The woman awakes to the sound of the cell phone’s alarm. She sobs and wails in disappointment. No! How could it be a dream? She’d held him in her arms. She’d petted his coat. She felt him just as if he was in the room with her.
She rushes to her husbands’ arms and tells him of Stubby cat’s visit; how real it was; how she smelled him and touched him. How his body was alive and warm and how it all crashed to pieces when the alarm brought about reality. Yes, he was gone. In her heart and soul, she knew this and as she lay down on the bed, tears of grief, blame and love poured forth.
I watch mom cry and wish I could be with her again. Dad is at her side trying his best to fight back his own tears. If I could tell them one thing, it would be how I chose to sacrifice my own well being to ensure the rest of my family made it to safety. More than anything, I want mom and dad to know, when faced with such danger, my love for them meant more than my own life. For I saw that mom could never carry my big orange kitty body, along with all the other animals, to safety Yes, I was no longer fearful. But proud I had shown I was no longer the Scardy Cat mom had saved from being euthanized so many years ago. I am brave and strong and will watch over my family, in spirit, for as long as they live.
And, I purr loudly.
Monica Brinkman,Host, It Matters Radio