Let me tell you a story.
I promise that it will be a short one.
This is a story about my puppy, Bella.
This story starts, unlike most stories, with a cat.
It was a cold, stormy day – mind this is not a cliche, but an accurate weather report.
My brother found it sitting on our windowsill.
It was grey – or filthy, probably filthy – with stripes running along its body.
It was cold and shivering and hungry. Always hungry.
Milk was made hastily.
And both my brother and I watched as it lapped it up, hesitantly and then with wild abandon.
“Can we name it?”
“No. Names will mean that we are attached”
“Look at the stripe down its forehead. Doesn’t it look like Aang from Airbender?”
“Yeah, it kinda does, doesn’t it?”
“Can we name it Aang?”
“Aang, it is”
And for a long time, we watched as Aang licked and purred.
We laughed as it ran between our legs and after loose thread.
If ever it was possible to love something so hard, so fast in such a short period of time, this was it.
But moments like these never lasts.
Soon it was 6pm.
“Mummy’s coming back”
“You know she hates cats”
“And all living things”
“What do we do with Aang?”
Now I did promise that this story will be a short one. So here goes.
There was a basket. And protests in the forms of purrs and scratches.
We walked two streets, with a cat in a basket.
Not to get rid of him, never to get rid of him.
I do not know how long we walked for.
But when we finally put him down, he didn’t run.
He merely looked up, with probing eyes.
With a question he will never be able to ask.
We ran home.
With a basket empty of cat but filled with regret.
“What if he comes back tomorrow?”
“What if he does?”
“Then we’ll do what we can to keep him”
And by some miracle, or stroke of Luck, or by the hand of a higher power, on the very next day, Aang came back.
He sat on the very same windowsill.
As filthy as before. And hungry, always hungry.
And one would think that all is well.
But we weren’t there when this little miracle happened.
There was a broom. And Aang was no more.
When the story was told over the dinner table,
With the nonchalance of one who obviously never had the privilege
Of spending time with our (yes, we’ve laid claim) little Airbender,
“How could you?”
“It’s just a cat”
“But a broom? Was that necessary?”
“It’s just a cat. Eat your dinner”
For weeks we looked for Aang.
Bowl of milk and ball of thread in hand,
And equipped with nothing but hope.
At night, there were prayers.
Fervent prayers for a missing cat.
We never found Aang. Neither did he return to our windowsill.
But a few months later, we got Bella.
A Maltese of three months old that stole our hearts with playful nips and the ability to pee on every carpet we’ve ever owned.
Mother loves animals now, cats included, and we got rid of that broom.
And though we love Bella to death,
We still check our windowsill from time to time.
For our hungry Airbender.