After the frantic intensity of my recent life and my visit with
horrible Doctor Sarah, I was looking forward to finally learning my way around my new home.
There were so many tantalizing smells in the air: Mama’s apartment had a pleasant dusty aroma with the overtone of fresh hay. Sometimes she put a fire on the end of a tiny stick and it made smoke that smelled like flowers that I could only recall through my distant ancestral memories. Then there were the breezes that blew outside, sending dried leaves skittering across the yard and bringing the omen of colder days to come.
I cried by the door every day when Mama woke up and when she came home, but she wouldn’t let me go outdoors and chase those darn leaves! “Not yet, Dahlia,” she told me one morning. “I want you to get your compass re-set to your new home before I let you out. I don’t want you getting lost.”
But Mama, I cried, I know I’ll be fine. I’m a great big smart kitty, and I’ll always be able to find my way home!
“Just trust me on this one, sweetie,” she said, and stroked me from my head to the tip of my tail. Oooh, I just loved that! As soon as she sat down to eat her breakfast, I jumped into her lap and curled myself up in a purry ball of love.
But Mama wasn’t the only one I adored. Oh, no, not at all!
Ever since Thomas had greeted me so politely on the day I arrived, I found my love for him growing. How could I resist such a kind and gentle cat — such a gentleman — such a big, handsome fellow? Oh, there was no way I would have been able to harden my heart to him.I giggled like a kitten playing batty-paws every time I saw him basking in the sun. With the golden autumn light shining on the crisp, clean whiteness of his immaculate vest, boots and mittens, he looked like a feline knight in shining armor. Even when he was right-side-up, his stripy fur glistened.
I hope I’m as shiny and glossy as you when I grow up, Thomas, I said one day as he helped me clean my ears.
I’m sure you will be, Dahlia, he told me. It’s all about good food and fresh air and lots of love.
With a purr, I relaxed into his ministrations. I hadn’t experienced such a wonderful grooming since Mama Cat had to leave my brothers and me with Mama Dog.
As I drowsed in the warm sunlight, comforted by Thomas’s loving tongue caressing my head and ears and chin, I felt myself surrounded by hundreds of cats purring in synchrony. There were a dozen long, lean cream-colored cats with triangular faces were adorned with sable-brown masks and blue eyes that shone with wisdom and love; hundreds of spotted cats the color of a hot desert breeze wearing bejeweled golden necklaces and earrings; a pair of short-haired black tomcats cats with heart-shaped white spots in their chest fur; another black-and-white cat sitting solemnly alone, her piercing eyes looking deep into my soul as if challenging me to prove that I loved Mama as much as she had when Mama cared for her; two tawny tomcats with brown masks that faded into tabby stripes; a tiny white she-cat with red and black spots and her daughter, a good-sized tortie with a harlequin face … and so many more. There were cats as far as I could see!
And when I turned my head, I saw her: Glorious Flower of Wisdom! She sat down gracefully next to me and whispered in my ear: These are all who have gone before you. We have taken care of the person we know as Mama over the thousands of generations we have shared our souls and our lives with humankind. We are always with you, kitten, and you need only call on us when you need us.
Slowly the city of cats faded from my vision and, exhausted, I lapsed into a nap.Later I heard a thud-thud-thud coming up the steps and I jolted awake as the building shook and door flew open. “Hey kitties,” Mama said. Then she caught a glimpse of Thomas and me snuggled together on the couch. “Awwwww,” she sighed. “That’s so sweet!”
I jumped down to the floor and started running around and between Mama’s legs. Mama! Mama! Mama! I said. Did you know that there are tons and tons of kitties who are looking after you? Glorious Flower of Wisdom says they’ve been with you for millions and millions of naps!
“Of course I’ll get you your dinner. I know you guys must be pretty hungry,” she said.
Humans can be so obtuse sometimes!