I settled myself into my favorite cozy chair to watch my evening programs. My youngest grandchild was safely ensconced in the old bedroom I put her in. With a book. That should hold her there for a while. I put her in the front bedroom so I could hear if she snuck out to watch the shows back there in the dark. Or if she snuck out the other door to the hall cupboard where I keep the extra food.
I smiled to myself, thinking about what a thrill she got out of being in the same room that her dad used to sleep in. It was even the same bed. With him being the youngest of my own six children, I didn’t see any point in replacing it. Who knew that my frugal decision would make her so happy?
Lawrence Welk came on the screen in the dark front room with the big window that looked out onto the street. I shut off all the lamps to cut on the light bill. My glass of soda sat next to me on a little pie-edged, two-tiered table. On top of a lace doily. My young granddaughter got a kick out of that, too. What was it about all this old furniture that made her so happy?
I watched the beautiful people on the screen and had the strangest thought float through my head. I had told my son not to marry that woman. That she wasn’t suitable for our family. He never had been very good at listening to me. Was I glad about that now? Oh, yes, I was. Just that one girl in there that was thrilled by every little thing we did for her made my life so wonderful when she came to visit. And there were three older grandchildren at home. I can’t take them all at once. One of them is a real rascal, just like his dad.
I don’t think I ever tell my son how much I love his kids. Maybe if I said something to his wife she wouldn’t look at me so sideways. Sheesh, woman, that was more than 15 years ago. Nah, I comforted myself. My son knows that I love these kids. Didn’t I buy this little one papaya every time she came to visit? As for the wife, well, I give her a birthday gift and a Christmas gift every year. I don’t need to apologize for saying that she wasn’t fit to marry my son because she was a divorced single mother.
Do you have a suggestion about how I can improve? Please do share.
“Sandy, can you come and sit with us? We want to tell you something important.” Jenna took a deep breath and waited.
“Yeah, Mom.” Sandy ran from her bedroom.
Tiger was there in his bed. He looked smaller than he used to.
“It’s Tiger,” her mom began, partly hoping that Sandy already knew what she was going to say.
Sandy wrinkled her nose as she went closer to where Tiger was laying between her parents on the couch with towels under his bed. “Tiger,” she stroked the top of his head between his ears. That was his sweet spot. Tiger purred and sounded a tiny “Mew.”
“Tiger’s really sick,” she heard her dad say. “You know that, right?”
“Yeah, he went to the vet a lot. He took medicine. Didn’t the medicine work?” She dropped her head and her voice now. Something was really wrong.
“No honey,” her mom said softly. “There’s no more medicine that can help Tiger now. It’s time for him to go to kitty heaven. We’re going to have to say our goodbyes to Tiger.”
Her eyes filled with tears, her nose started to run. She shook her head. “No, Mommy, no.” She turned to her dad and hid her face in his shoulder.
“Shhh, it’s going to be okay, Sandy.” Her dad held her body to his, like he was trying to shield her.
Sandy couldn’t think of her life without Tiger. He had always been there with her. She had noticed that he didn’t play as much now, but she thought he was still okay.
“Where is he going to go now? Will he live with someone else?” She felt that she was being punished. Tiger was being taken away from her.
“No, honey. He’s going to kitty heaven.” Her mom sounded helpless.
“You mean he’s going to be with the angels now? Like Tanya’s hamster Caramel?”
A little understanding? Her dad said, “Yes, he’ll be in heaven with Caramel.”
“But he’ll hunt Caramel, won’t he? Like he hunted the mice that got into the garage?” She rubbed her face against her dad’s shirt, feeling confused and sad. She peeked at Tiger again. He really did look sick. Had he been that sick when she left for school today? She couldn’t even remember if she noticed him today. Fresh tears spilled when she thought about how she hadn’t said anything to him.
“We think that in heaven he’ll get to do all the things he likes to do. Everyone gets along there,” her mom answered.
Sandy looked into her mother’s eyes. “How will he get there?”
“Dr. Segal will help him.” Her dad answered, wondering what other questions Sandy would ask.
Sandy saw her mom open her arms. She snuggled into her mother’s soft shirt, sniffing loudly. She enjoyed the feeling of her mom’s arms closing around her and rocking her gently. The moment caught up with Sandy. She fell asleep in her mother’s arms like she had when she was little.