Just when it was fully dark a car pulled up in the front of the house. Rudy went out to meet it, expecting it to be the Daddy, returning from feeding Grey. As she walked out front, she saw that it was the Mommy’s car, not the Daddy’s. She was home! Rudy sped up a little – she didn’t want to run, though. That wouldn’t be appropriate for a cat, no matter how happy she was to see the person. She greeted the Mommy as she got out of the car, wreathing around her legs, and graciously accepting caresses of her long silky fur.
The Mommy grabbed a few things out of the car and headed towards the house. She saw LT sitting just inside the woods. He’d just returned from his visit to Ginger’s house, and had settled into a cool comfortable spot. He didn’t get up, but looked eagerly as she put her things down and walked over to him. She leaned down and stroked his head and he said, “I’m glad you’re home, Mommy. Daddy and Peep missed you so much. Will you cook bacon for us tomorrow?”
The Mommy sighed, probably not in response to the request for bacon, since she didn’t speak cat, but just because she was bone tired. She walked into the silent house. There was no sign of the Peep. She moved from room to room and found Peep sitting in the window of the computer room. She went over and stroked the Peep’s fur and picked her up and gave her a big hug and kiss. “I’ve missed you so much, Peep. I wish you could have been there, because you would have made it so much more bearable. I’m home to stay now.”
Peep squirmed, and the Mommy put her down. As the Mommy moved around the house, Peep followed her from room to room, just to reassure herself that she was really there, and that she wasn’t dreaming. It would be too cruel for Peep to wake up tomorrow morning and find out that the Mommy wasn’t home yet. Daddy came home a few minutes later, and after one of those face-smushing people greetings, he helped her unload her belongings from the car.
Unbelievably, the next item on Mommy’s agenda was to cook dinner. She had brought home some leftover pork chops that she hadn’t eaten in Virginia, so she made them up for dinner, along other eatables she found in the refrigerator. The Mommy and Daddy sat down to eat, and Peep thought this was just perfect – the way things were supposed to be.
Peep went into her secret place where she’d kept track of the days that Mommy had been gone all summer. With great glee, she savagely swiped her claws across all of the markings. She didn’t need these now – Mommy was home and she was going to stay. Over and over Peep scratched them out, scratching in some places so hard that the wood seemed to shift in place.
Satisfied, Peep returned to the kitchen and found Mommy cleaning up from dinner. After putting on her comfortable jammies, the Mommy grabbed Peep and lay on the couch. Although this was Peep's next to least favorite thing to do, she put up with it for the Mommy's sake until Daddy came in to sit with her on the couch to talk and watch a little television.
Mommy explained to the Daddy that she’d stayed up almost all night long at work to finish her paper, and didn’t even leave her office until 4:00 AM. Peep wasn’t sure, but she was pretty sure that was very late, from the way Mommy said it. Then she went home and slept a little bit, and got up and left to come home. She said she just wanted to get out of that place and back to where she belonged.
Peep drowsed on the trunk as they continued to talk. It wasn’t that she wasn’t interested in what Mommy had to say, but she was just so relieved for her to be home that her exhaustion had caught up with her. When they got up to go to bed, Peep had fallen so soundly asleep she didn’t even hear them turn the television off or leave the room.
She did hear a loud crash and screech a few moments later, though. It woke her up and she levitated a foot in the air, coming down on the tile floor, scrabbling for her footing. She ran towards the voices, and found the Daddy lying on the soft part of the bed, except that it seemed to be mostly on the floor instead of up high where it usually was. He was saying some words that didn’t sound very nice, and Mommy was laughing hysterically. Daddy untangled himself from the covers and the Mommy helped him take them off the bed and then stand the mattress and box spring up against the walls so that they could figure out what was wrong with the bed.
“It’s been fine, Mary Rose. I’ve been sleeping in it every night, and although I don’t usually leap into it like I did tonight, it hasn’t seemed at all like it was going to collapse.”
Still laughing, Mary Rose said, “Jay, you just looked so funny when it crashed down. I’m sorry I laughed, but with everything that’s happened in the last week, it just seemed like the perfect finish to a series of one catastrophe after another.”
They examined the bed frame and it appeared to be in good condition. The slats on the were solid also, but had deep scratches in them. Jay looked at them and then at Mary Rose. “Do you think the cats have been using these as a scratching post? I remember that for a while they were crawling into the hollow box spring before we removed the bottom fabric, and I don’t recall seeing those scratches then.”
“I guess we’ll never know why they’re there – but look at all of them. Every slat has scratches on them. Some are long, some are short, and some are in different directions, almost as though they were symbols. I wonder if the cats have taken up math or physics. They look like some of my equations, sometimes.” They reassembled the bed and put the blankets back on top and Mary Rose gratefully sank onto the bed. “This bed has never felt better. I am so glad to be home.”
Peep crept out of the room. The Mommy had said that her counting looked like math or physics equations. She’d realized they weren’t just random scratches. Rudy came in and asked what all the fuss was. Peep explained about the scratches and what the Mommy had said, but Rudy asked, “What does that have to do with the yelling and laughing? I don’t think it was that funny, was it?”
Then Peep had to sheepishly explain that she’d been making her counting marks on the slats under the bed, and when she’d scratched them out tonight, she’d used such strength that she must have moved the slats so that the bed wasn’t supported right any more, and so when the Daddy flopped on it hard it fell down. Rudy laughed and said, “Well that’s a welcome home. I’m glad it wasn’t the Mommy. She might have thought we’d booby trapped her.” Rudy went back outside, still laughing.
Peep settled back down on the trunk, still thinking about how the Mommy had recognized her scratches as math, and not just a cat exercising her claws.
Welcome home, Mary Rose!