stillerwatersrundeeper

Observations of life from an aspiring writer


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Scrap and Lilly

Moree’s heat and cricket staccato at night,began to crescendo in December in the 1990s. My work at the local high school was still thrumming to a steady beat. The sun beat down from early morning each day. I lingered at home, I was running late but I’d wandered out the back onto the concrete slab veranda.
The sight before me was unforgettable.
Our gentle German shepherd dog Lilly was walking extremely slowly across the back yard. She had an object in her mouth. Her pose mimicked that of a mother dog carrying her puppies. Only Lilly had never had puppies. It looked like she had a stick in her mouth or maybe something revolting. I called,
‘Lil what have you got?’
I couldn’t work out what it was. Carefully she padded the remaining few metres till she reached me. Lilly looked up at me, as if to say,
‘Look, look, I’ll show you what I found.’
She lowered her head and released it from her mouth onto the slab.
The tiny creature pushed onto its miniscule paws and stood.
I jumped.
The ‘It’ was a very black, wet, bedraggled kitten, as big as your average banana. Lil nuzzled it with her snout.
‘Lil! Where’d you find it?’
Our backyard had a high colour bond fence round all three sides. It was a small backyard. Tall eucalypt trees lined the fence. Apparently the kitten had slipped under the fence somewhere and Lil had found it? I patted Lil and picked up the kitten. Lilly watched closely. ‘It’ fitted snugly in the palm of my hand.
Excitedly I ran inside to call work. I didn’t think about how odd the call was going to sound to my executive teacher, nor did it occur to me that my boss might say too bad come in anyway. I was in the right here, right now moment.
‘I’m going to be late. Our dog has just walked across the backyard carrying a stray kitten. It’s about three weeks old.’
The executive teacher was compassionate and unflappable. We had worked together for some years by then.
‘Oh. Okay. Do I have to replace you on any classes? When will you be in?’
‘No thanks, I’ll just try to feed it and be in.’
I was able to feed the kitten mouthfuls of my Grandma’s egg flip recipe off a teaspoon. The kitten lapped up the warm milk and flavouring. I settled the kitten into a big box with clean rags. I congratulated Lilly. We named the kitten Scrap. We learnt about broken sleep quickly, as we were feeding him every couple of hours during the night.
His abrupt entry into our lives was unheralded but welcome. We adopted him. He wasn’t the last cat to make their way to us, thankfully I didn’t have to ring into work again on behalf of a kitten. We never learnt why they chose us. Only we did help each stray and they each became part of our family.

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