Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fathers and Fond Memories - Roots and Broken Rules

I don’t celebrate Father’s Day.  I don’t know who my father was.  He yelled out a loud caterwaul and leaped back over the fence, leaving my mom with nothing left but  his memory and me. 
I was only a newborn but I remember the story well, as she licked my face clean and nudged me close to her.
  I dreamed of him and I wondered why he left us. I had other siblings. There were four of us. I was young but I could see the hardship of feeding us was taking its toll on mom. Listening to the mews and meows from the others stressed me,
so  I refused my meager share that mom brought home. I was only a burden. I struck out on my own.

It was rough on my own. My hunting prowess lacked experience.  A cheesy wrapper, carried by the night breeze, drifted by me, its aroma tantalizing my empty tummy. I set out on the chase. 
Suddenly from nowhere,  a big tom appeared and planted his paws in my path. His tail straight, his fur spiked. He  roared in my face. His green eyes glowed. 
I crouched. Lowering my nose to my paws, I mewed as the promise of dinner floated past. Then he spat at me. And I ran.

I dove under the trash bin as the blur of a she-cat shot past my retreat.  The yowls and screams gave me pause and I skidded to a stop.  Now it was the big tom who retreated, and the she-cat, twitching her tail and chirping, trotted towards me the wrapper between her teeth and flapping against her face.  She dropped it at my feet, slapping her paw, her beautiful soft paw, on her prize so it wouldn’t blow away.  She waited.

My surprise glued my feet in place. Hope that the hunger I had known for so long might end with this simple act from this silky, soft,warm ball of fur. 
The scent of her pulled me back to reality. She chirped again.   I devoured the cheese and chunks of fish, which clung to the waxed paper dinner plate.

Petunia changed my life.

  I no longer beat myself up. Petunia’s kindness warmed me deep inside. I didn’t have to put myself down anymore. Sure, my dad didn’t care about me, and I was a burden to my mom and my siblings, but at that moment ,when I looked into Petunia’s golden eyes, I knew she thought I was worth  something and I felt safe from the outside world. 

  I accepted my roots. I didn’t have a dad in my life but I heard stories. He was mean and brazen and he ruled the neighborhood. From the outside he was an outlaw. Yet I am not ashamed to admit, if Petunia had not appeared that night, I probably would have followed in his prowling, gigolo paw prints. We all are capable of desperate  actions during trying times.   And my mom? She loved me and did the best she could.   
I broke the rules that night. I followed Petunia home.  I decided to trust my instincts –– to trust her. Even when  all society’s rules –– the ones which labeled me as a bastard and a no-good loser ––the warnings that reminded everyone  not to trust anyone , to  be afraid, and  be practical,  rang in my ears –– I spat in the world’s face.
 I grabbed  onto my  indescribable, makes-no-sense,  feelings and I  followed her home.
I quit doubting myself. I accepted my past. And against all odds, I came to have faith that the events, the people  and she-cats or tom-cats who came into my life  were necessary and like scented trails for me to follow..

Events occur in  life….we must accept, adapt, and overcome.
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1 comment:

  1. Cute, and with a warm lesson.

    Thanks for sharing the story!