When I was about six years old, I decided that I needed a cat. I begged and pleaded my mother and father. “Buy me a cat or I’ll die!” For me, all the world’s happiness was summed up in a fury kitten.
One day, my dad came home from work with his hands behind his back. He said he had a surprise for me. I looked up at him with a huge smile and innocently asked him what it was. “A kitten.” I began to dance with joy, twirling around and chanting “thankyouthankyouthankyou!” It was only when I stopped that I realized that the kitten he had brought me wasn’t moving. It wasn’t furry either. My dad had brought me a picture of a kitten in a cheap plastic frame. My smile disappeared. I delivered a dry thanks to my father and took the picture to my room.
Now, however terrible sense of humor my father might have, he isn’t a bad man. The next week, on a Saturday morning, Dad invited me to go to Indiana to visit my Aunt. We drove out of the city, past the coal yards, and the steel mill factory until we reached her pretty blue house. As soon as we got out of the car my cousin, Katie, ran towards me with something in her arms. A kitten! “Look what we got! His name is Tiger because he’s orange and fierce.” I tried hard not to feel the green bite of jealously towards my cousin, but it was almost more than what I could bear. “Let’s go play with him in the garden,” I suggested.
After a few hours, my father called me to go home. I clambered back into the car and bid a farewell wave to Katie and Tiger. Lucky girl. I eased myself into the soft blue seat of the car and let my mind wander to thoughts of owning my own kitty-cat. So submerged was I in my imagination, that I didn’t notice my father pull up into the driveway of a strange house I didn’t recognize. We walked up to the front door and pressed the doorbell. A kind-looking lady wearing a mu-mu answered. “Come on in. You must be here to pick out a kitten.” She smiled at me. “Go, on sweetie, they’re in the kitchen.” Sure enough, I walked into the kitchen and saw a mother cat with little kittens all around her. My face radiated with delight as I picked out Blacky, my first pet.