Peep woke up slowly on Monday morning. She remembered dreams where she was looking for something but couldn’t find it. What was it she was looking for? She stretched, and her claws caught in the back of the green chair. As she worked the claws loose she remembered what she had searched for – the Mommy. She jumped up and ran into the bedroom. “Oh, please let her be there, please Higher Cat, I’ll do anything if she’s there. I’ll be a better cat and never leave food on the floor….”
As she arrived in the bedroom and jumped on the bed she found only the Daddy, who looked at her drowsily. “Peep, it’s early. The sun is barely up and I fed you before I went to bed last night. Go eat what’s there.” With that, the Daddy went back to sleep.
Peep examined the covers to see if maybe the Mommy had been there and just woke up earlier. No sign of anyone having slept in the rest of the bed. She jumped off the bed and ran through the house. No Mommy, and everything was in the same place as it had been when she went to sleep. Peep jumped up on the gas fireplace to look out the front window. Mommy’s car wasn’t there.
Ears down, Peep slunk off the radiator and curled up on the green chair. Maybe she’d counted wrong. Maybe she’d made counting scratches two times in one day? She reviewed the week. First scratch – she’d learned how to count that day. That was certain. Second scratch – that was the day she’d gotten attacked by Fuzzy, trying to use the poo field. Third scratch – that was the day that Miss Rudy had been giving hugs. Hug your cat day, indeed! Fourth scratch – oh, no, the dishes and her unintended bath. That was one paw. She was sure those were right. New paw, first scratch – Cat Club meeting. Second scratch – that day they’d loved the Daddy so that he wouldn’t be lonely, even if there wasn’t any bacon. Third scratch – yesterday. They’d planned that lovely party that the Daddy had just tossed out. Men! That made today the last claw on her other front paw. She was sure that those were all correct. Even though she wasn’t a brilliant little cat, she’d counted correctly. So, where was the Mommy? Peep sat and worried and worried, but sleep attacked and won.
LT and Miss Rudy sat outside on the porch and listened as Peep ran around the house. They’d already determined that the Mommy hadn’t come home, and were snuggled together to decide what to do next. “The Peep is going to be very sad when she realizes the Mommy isn’t home, and maybe isn’t coming home,” LT said.
“Don’t hide behind Peep’s emotions,” said Rudy. “You’re just as upset as Peep and I are. The Mommy is the one who picked me out when I was a tiny kitten and brought me to the barn to live with the gray horse. She made sure I had delicious squishy food and took me to Tibet so I wouldn’t get sick. I hated going to Tibet, but she explained that the shots were so that I didn’t get horrible sicknesses that could kill me. And the Mommy was the one who took care of me when the gray horse stepped on me and broke my legs. She and the Daddy brought me home and let me sleep in the garage, but it was the Mommy who brought me into the house and let me stay with you. I think the Daddy is nice, but he would have left me outside, maybe. Oh, I miss the Mommy!”
LT sighed and snuggled closer to Miss Rudy. “You’re right, I miss her too. I think there was a time I don’t remember her being here, but I’m not sure anymore. That time didn’t have bacon, I’m pretty sure of that, and not so many other good foods. I’m not a snuggly cat with the people, but I do love her.”
“Well, when the Daddy wakes up, let’s go talk to him,” said Rudy. “He doesn’t really understand us, but if we meow and jump on the Mommy’s desk and haul out her stuff, maybe he’ll understand that we want to know about her. If we don’t get more information, I’m afraid that Peep will be heartbroken. You and I will get by, but Peep is truly a Mommy’s cat.”
LT and Rudy went inside quietly, so as to not waken Peep. They sat on the bed, and watched the Daddy until he woke up. The Daddy woke slowly, aware that he was be watched. He said to LT and Rudy, “Good morning. What are you doing here, so quiet and patient? If you wanted food, you’d be jumping on my stomach.” He rolled over and got up out of bed, padding out of the bedroom.
Before he could get into the kitchen, Rudy meowed loudly and ran into the office while LT butted Daddy’s legs so he’d move in the direction Rudy had gone. He tried to push LT off, but LT reached up and clawed him just a little bit. “Okay, okay what do you want?” Rudy jumped onto the Mommy’s desk and meowed loudly. LT clawed at the bookcase where the Mommy kept her books and meowed even louder. Peep woke and heard the howls from the office and ran into to join them.
“Meooowww!” Peep wailed. “I need my Mommy, I need my Mommy. Meooowww!”
The Daddy sat down in his chair with a thump. “Do you all miss Mary Rose that much?” he asked. “It’s going to be a long summer until she gets home, guys.” He picked up the Peep and placed her on the desk in front of him. “You’ll have to put up with me until she comes home - Peep, LT, Rudy. I promise she will come home, but not for a good long while. He gently scratched Peep’s head, and Rudy came and rubbed against his legs for reassurance. He reached down to give her a head-scratch and looked at LT. “You too old man. I know you’re too proud to come over here for pats, but I bet you miss her too. Heck, I miss her! If this weren’t so important to her, I’d drive down to Virginia and bring her back. We just have to make do for now.
All three cats looked at him with sad expressions, their ears down and heads bowed. Finally, the Daddy couldn’t stand them looking at him anymore and jumped up, saying, “How about I make us all some bacon for breakfast. Mommy isn’t the only one who knows how to cook around here! I bet that will cheer you up some.”
While the Daddy cooked the bacon, the three cats just sat where they were in the office, sad and listless. LT felt that as senior cat, he’d better say something. “Well, he did say that she would come home, but not for a long time. He even said it would be a long summer until she got here, and it’s just barely getting to feel like summer. Peep, you’re keeping track of the days, aren’t you? I’ll try to figure out how long the summer is, and that will give us a better idea of when she might come home. Rudy, you like to watch the television. Listen for anyone talking about when summer is over. Peep, just try not to be too sad, and keep up your counting!”
The Daddy called them into the kitchen for bacon. It smelled and tasted delicious, but their hearts weren’t in their eating (although they did polish off two whole strips of bacon each). As the cats were eating, the Daddy’s phone rang, and he told them that he needed to go to North Jersey for a job, and to take care of themselves. Rudy and LT went outside to sun, and Peep went to the secret place where she kept track of the days. With a savage swipe of one claw, she made the deepest and widest scratch yet to finish off a second front paw of days. “I don’t know if I’ll ever see my Mommy again.”
Photo courtesy of Tom Adriaenssen - http://www.flickr.com/photos/inferis/8645811/