Five year old Janey had so many toys that there was a room specially for them. As time passed, she never played with any of them anymore. Because on her birthday her mom Sylvia bought her a present she always cried for ever since she was three. A cat. She was eight by then, and her parents, the Pattersons, had decided it’s time she finally owned the pet. Only if she promised to take good care of it. “It’s a promise! Oh, thank you, think you so much!” She said as she bent down to hug the cat and brush its golden fur.
Then and there, Janey named the cat Fluffy, and ate her birthday cake with it.
She became so close with Fluffy that she shared her bed with it – leaving it out of the warmth of her blankets made her feel so bad, even thought the cat had its own hooded bed tucked at the corner of the room. But of course, Janey only shared her bed with Fluffy when her parents weren’t checking up on her. They’d often hear her talking and laughing in her bedroom, Sylvia and her father Dan would look at each other at the lounge and go over to see; only to find that Janey is laughing and talking with the cat, holding it and rubbing it while giggling and rolling on the carpet.
“Is this…normal?” Sylvia whispered to Dan.
“I think it is,” he whispered back. “Me too when I was her age I also had a pet, a puppy that I was so attached to,” he added. But deep down he knew his attachment to that deceased puppy wasn’t as intense as that of her eight year old daughter’s to this cat. Maybe it was normal.
Whenever they talked with Janey she’d occasionally reference Fluffy as if Fluffy was a person. Yes, it’s normal, Dan thought to himself. Children do get connected to things they love the most, if it’s a favourite toy then they’ll never take it out their sight and they’ll also give it a name.
“What,” Sylvia looked down at Janey, paused from chopping the onions.
“I’d like a peanut butter sandwich,” Janey said. “With juice.”
“No, say it properly.”
“It prop…properly,” said Janey.
Sylvia sighed, let go of the knife and reached for the remaining white loaf of bread inside the woody container.
“Make some for Fluffy. He eat two slices,” Janey said.
“Cats don’t eat bread, Janey.”
“They do, ma! Fluffy eats bread, with milk,” just then, the cat came by and rubbed its self on Janey’s legs. “Meow.”
She went down and stroked its golden fur. “You eat bread don’t you, Fluffy?” Janey said. The cat purred and licked its forearms and purred again. “You see, mom? She eats bread.”
Sylvia made another sigh and made the bread.
One Saturday morning Sylvia and Dan went out to buy groceries. Since Janey didn’t want to leave her cat behind and since they didn’t want to come with it (Dan dreaded for his car seats to be filled with feline hairs), they left her behind with her cat. It was not their first time leaving her home alone. She was smart enough to work a phone, countless times they taught her how to call for emergency. She knew that the door must always be locked and that she shouldn’t open for anyone, nor should she go outside. She should stay close to the phone because they’ll call every ten minutes to check up on her; and they didn’t plan to be away for a long time anyways. The mall was close and they weren’t planning to buy too many things, they’d be back in no time.
Just like most kids who are home alone, Janey would do things her parents wouldn’t allow if ever they were around. Like going out to play in the grass, that was the freedom they wouldn’t grant her; talking about how there are thorns so she shouldn’t play there at all, even though she’d wear shoes.
This time around there was Fluffy to play with. It was mad fun. Laughing and running around with the cat as it chases her sometimes, throw herself on the grass as the cat mounts on her and purs, gyrating on her belly, tickling her as she strokes its head, ears and sides with laughter. It was more fun playing with Fluffy outside than it was inside the house. But then the fun and laughter ended.
All of a sudden, in a blink of an eye, the cat just climbed the nearby tree alongside Sylvia’s pink garden. Now Fluffy purred in the leaves.
Janey looked up. “Come down from there. Come down! Fluffy!”
The cat never came down. It stood on the branches and licked its paws. “Meow!”
“Fluffy,” Janey felt like screaming now, her hands on her waist, face looking up in a deep frown. “Come down from there.”
“Meow,” the cat responded and went two branches up the tree.
“Fluffy,” the tears were seconds away from Janey’s eyes. She called out for her cat while stomping her foot on the grass, yelling and yelling.
But Fluffy continued to purr and since Janey could communicate with the pet, she now thought that maybe Fluffy was stuck up in there and couldn’t come down.
“Meow!” The cat sounded and looked so innocent and scared, with those big eyes, head moving nervously as it looked around the tree.
I need to save her, Janey told herself. She pulled in a long breath of bravery, and marched towards the tree and tried to climb it. The tree was very tall, mom and dad had always warned her not to climb that tree but right now she had no choice. And mom and dad were not around. She had to get Fluffy before they returned.
So Janey climbed on the trunk. A few times she almost fell but her little hands held tight. After minutes of going against her body, pulling herself higher and higher, Janey was up in the tree, sweating and panting. She dared not to look down, instead she forced herself to look up at her cat.
She opened her arms – her back balanced on the trunk behind – and made a shaky smile. “I’m here now. Come,” she gestured her hands to her chest. “Come on.”
The cat only licked its paws. It kept looking around like it didn’t have any move to get down with.
So Janey had no any other choice but to go up again and rescue Fluffy.
She held on to a branch…but the branch snapped and fell off the tree. Janey screamed. She almost lost her balance, but managed to held on tight to her step and hold. She was hugging the tree now, shaking against it. One more mistake then she’ll follow that branch. She looked around at the available options of branches to hold on to; and she needn’t hold too tight or else the branch will also snap off and fall with her.
She gripped on successfully and went up, but the thick leaves would brush on her face and block her eyes a little.
Eventually, she heaved up to where Fluffy was. Finally. Janey smiled at the cat, brushed it around. “It’s okay now. Don’t worry. I’m here,” she said, in a sweaty smile.
“Meow!” The cat went down the tree as quick as it did when it first climbed it, with the agility of a monkey. In less than three seconds the cat was back on the grass.
Janey gasped, swayed a little and found her hold again. She looked down and saw that she was way too high on the tree; there was no way she’d climb back down. She was alone up there.
Fluffy purred on the grass. The cat raised its head to look up at Janey up there in the leaves. And then the cat smiled, whiskers moved upwards.
Tell us: what do you think about these pieces?