Ollie & Spuds – Chapter 2

(continued from previous post)   The cat’s name is Spuds.  The old man she’d lived with thought she looked like the color of yellow Finn potatoes.  He’d pulled her as a kitten out from under a bramble—mewing and shaking—on a busy roadside.  He gently stroked her fur with large, rough hands, looked into her gold-green eyes, and took her home.

Spuds had a life of luxury with him: curled up on the rug by the wood stove in winter, lounging on a sunny perch on the screened-in porch in the summer watching red cardinals and blue birds.  Spuds liked the old man, a lot; they understood each other.  But one morning when she went up to his room to remind him it was feeding time, something was different.  She jumped up on the bed and stood on his chest and peered at him.  She could sense him, but he wasn’t in there his body.  She called out to him.  Then she saw him in her mind’s eye, and his eyes were dazzling.  Then he receded and was gone.

Four days passed before anyone came to the house.  By then Spuds had clawed her way through the bag of cat food and found that fresh toilet water wasn’t completely undrinkable.

People came then, many of them, people who had never come before.  They pawed the old man’s possessions, argued with each other, and carried things out of the house.  Spuds watched.  A woman noticed the cat and picked her up, bangle bracelets clanging together, and put Spuds outside.  Spuds sniffed at the air, then turned to go back inside.  The woman blocked Spuds’ way with a well-shod foot.  “You’re free now kitty, go away.”

Spuds looked for a long while at the closed door.  Then she walked down the driveway and before turning onto the road, looked back at the house.  The windows glinted empty and cold in the sun.
Ollie & Spuds will be continued

Chapter 1: https://untoldanimalstories.org/2014/02/15/ollie-spuds-chapter-1/

Chapter 3:  https://untoldanimalstories.org/2014/05/04/ollie-spuds-chapter-3/

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Erna’s Garden

purple tulips ID-100139402Erna’s home carried the scent of roses and crisp cotton sheets.  The kitchen was sunny, with flowery curtains billowing in on the wind.  It was as if the worn oak floorboards themselves contained comfort.

These days Erna’s gardens are overgrown with tassel-topped grasses waving in the wind.  The shutters and gutters are slightly askew, and moss grows on the white clapboard.  Sometimes I come to watch the weeping willow’s arms sweep the pebbly driveway, and to remember.

I knew Erna long before she knew me.  From the woods where I lived I watched as she carried a basket on her hip to the clothesline. . . as she tilted her face toward the sun and closed her eyes. . . as she weeded the garden and gathered an armful of flowers for her table.

One afternoon I sauntered over to her as she was pegging out the laundry.  “Oh!” she said, “Oh!  Wait here.”black and white cat ID-10029960

She came back with remnants of a pork chop and a small bowl of waterEach afternoon after that I visited her.  She sat next to me on the patio as I ate, talking about anything that occurred to her.  I think she was lonely.

Cold weather came early that year, and the wind bit through my fur.  One day, as I waited for her on the patio, Erna held the door wide open.  “Well, come on,” she said.  I walked in and made myself at home.

By day I kept her company in the kitchen as she worked, her shoulders soft and rounded, her hands moving in and out of shafts of light.  She hummed tunelessly to the soft, repeating clang of the wooden spoon in the mixing bowl.

By evening we sat by the fire in winter, and by the open window in summer.  Erna worked with her hands, always, making afghans, quilts, and linen napkins, always in shades of green.

By night I slept on the window seat under the dormer, the stars glimmering overhead.

In time, Erna became ill.  People came and went from the house.  I slept curled by her feet, keeping an eye on her, caring for her as I could.  She passed away anyway.  I watched them carry her from the house, but it wasn’t her.  I sensed her around me, free.

A neighbor woman took me home with her.  I’ve made my life there with her family, and it’s a good life.  But sometimes I like to come here to Erna’s garden, to sense her, to feel our life together.

•Images, in order of appearance, courtesy of chaiwat & foto76/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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