I raced up the stairs, took a sharp left turn at the landing, and flung myself on the bed. The springs creaked. The little bounce was reassuring as the bed reacted to my slight weight. It was time for a few hours of uninterrupted reading on a Sunday afternoon.
Was it spring, or fall? Memory fails after all these years. It was cold; that much I do remember. The window was closed and a light rain spattered against the glass. I settled in for my read.
Normally anyone’s adventures would be enough to hold my attention against all other time snatchers. This afternoon was different.
A sound, foreign to the creaks of the springs, the squeaks of the stairs and the occasional clicking on and off of the furnace, niggled at the back of my mind. I tore myself away from a hero pursuing a heroine across the seven seas and listened more intently to the real world.
It sounded like scratching. That’s it, I thought, a tree branch making friendly with the window, egged on by a matchmaking wind. I went back to my book. A half a paragraph later, I stopped reading.
Can’t be a branch. There isn’t any tree outside my window.
Logical. I got up from the bed and took the one-and-a-half steps to the window.
It must be a wire from the line that runs to the top of the house from the street.
I studied the situation with all the wisdom of an almost teenager. The wires looked fine and nothing seemed to be rubbing. In fact, I couldn’t hear the sound anymore. I went back to my book.
Just moments later the scratching returned. I stopped to listen, trying to determine where the sound was coming from. It stopped. I read. It started. I stopped reading. I got up from the bed to hunt for the sound. It stopped. I went back to the bed and to my book. The scratching started up. We led each other a merry dance for a good while.
Be quiet and just stay still and listen. Don’t move. It’s not outside, it’s inside, and it’s in this room.
The room was small and I knew that eventually I’d find the source of the scratching. It stopped when I made noise, so if I was quiet I could follow the sound to that source—I hoped.
It’s not coming from under the bed, from the night table or the bookshelf. The dresser is the only other place. Can’t be that. What would be making a noise in the dresser?
I tiptoed over to the dresser. No scratching. However, this time I stood still, frozen in place, and waited.
The sound was coming from the second drawer of my dresser. I was the coward who never came up the stairs without switching on the light first. I was the wimp who checked behind the doors and under the bed for bogeymen. I cautiously eased the drawer open inch by inch; afraid of what monsters might be hiding there.
This “monster” was fat and had stripes—Tiger.
Three little kittens, They lost their mittens …*
I might have been willing to sacrifice my mittens, but I wasn’t prepared to let Tiger use my sweaters as receiving blankets. I still haven’t discovered how a pregnant cat found a big enough hole in the back of my dresser to crawl through. There was no way she could have gotten in the front way without me seeing her. However she did it, Tiger was now happily snuggled into my sweaters in preparation for impending motherhood.
“Mom!” I yelled, as I grabbed the cat.
We had carefully prepared a comfortable maternity suite for Tiger in the basement. Of course, that wasn’t her choice. For being a feral cat brought up in a barn, she still recognized the luxury of life in my sweater drawer.
The next morning, I went down to see how nature was taking its course. Tiger was hard at work.
I raced up the basement steps.
“Mom, there’s one.”
I ran down the basement steps, then yelled again from the bottom: “Mom, there’s two.”
Finally, all the kittens were safely delivered. I think I was more exhausted than the new mother. After all, I was the one running up and down the stairs.
Now I remember; it was Easter, the obvious time to celebrate new life. Tiger and I certainly did.
*Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme, Author Unknown
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