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Episode Two: "Betty, Sarah and The Cat"
We had a wonderful time together back then. We played, sang together and everything was so right, so pure. We made plans to stay together for the rest of our lives. It was Christmas everyday. I would play the part of Santa Claus and at the end of the week; she would have all of my toy soldiers and trucks as her presents.
Summer vacation would come around and Betty would go up north to Maine. But I would always anxiously wait for her return. There wasn’t a day that went by that I wouldn’t walk up to Betty’s grandmother’s front porch to ask if Betty was home yet. Her grandmother was about eighty, she told me to call her Sarah and to me she looked a little crazy but she was a kind and dear heart. She always carried a white cat everywhere she went. She used to make oatmeal cookies for us, but that didn’t last too long.
The ingredients she used seemed to make the cookies vary in taste as time went by. Her glasses seemed to have thicker lenses and I knew we were in trouble when they started to resemble the thickness of coke bottle bottoms. When the cookies started to taste more like baking soda than sugar, I knew it was time to say thank you and start claiming tooth decay because of too many sweets. That seemed to do the trick. When she needed some errands to take care of, I’d go for it and besides I liked her. This helped the time go by quicker until Betty came back.
A couple of weeks went by. While I sitting on my front porch, I heard the screeching of car tires as it sped away. I turned and saw the white cat in the middle of the street bleeding profusely. Sarah came out and saw what happened. I could see that this strong and well-seasoned soul couldn’t hold back the tears as she saw her loving companion dying in the middle of the street.
I didn’t know what to do but somehow I started remembering what I heard a preacher say about talking to God about everything. I never knew what a church was all about until Betty had invited me to go. I went and I was never the same after that. I had heard I could actually talk with God and ask for things in prayer. So I picked up Sarah’s dying cat and brought it to her front porch. I was stained with blood. The fur was red and rose colored from the cat's blood coming out of its mouth and ear.
Sarah brought me an aluminum bowl filled with warm water, and while her voice trembled, she told me to wash up. She looked at me with sadness and hopelessness.
She said, “Go on home Harry, I’m going to bury her in the back yard. That cat and I have been together for the last ten years. When my husband passed on, this little kitten came to me on a wintry morning. She was muddy, thirsty and hungry. I was lonely, afraid and bereaved. It was as if my husband had sent this little one to me to ease the pain. I guess she is going back to him before I do.”
I couldn’t stand it. I cried in the midst of the atmosphere of Sarah’s pain.
I asked God, “Help me.”
Instead of washing my hands, I started washing the blood off the cat, a preparation for a funeral. Five minutes went by. I was getting ready to put her in the shoebox and all of a sudden she opened her eyes.
Sarah said, “Look she’s back. God gave her back.”
He sure did. It was a day I will always remember. From that day on Sarah and me would never forget what we had seen and experienced together.
Betty finally made it back from vacation and needless to say I was ecstatic. We always took up where we left off. Time would somehow slip away quickly and the year was over before we knew it. Yes, it was vacation time again but I knew she’d be back. All I had to do was have a little patience and endure for what I thought was forever.
That was the last time I’d ever see Betty again. She never came back home. They told me the whole family moved up to the northeast states. I was a heartbroken little child for a long time. No letter or even a Christmas card ever arrived. My loneliness soon turned into anger. How dare they move and not take me with them. After all we were supposed to be together forever.
Five years went by and I never forgot those wonderful, happy and confusing days. Until mother told me the real reason Betty never came back.
She said, “Son you were too young to know what really happened to Betty. You see the last time you said goodbye to Betty was truly the last time anybody saw little Betty alive. She lost her life up north while on vacation. She developed pneumonia after she had the flu. The doctor said it hit her so hard and fast that her little body didn’t stand a chance. Son I’m sorry we kept this from you for so long but Sarah made us promise not to tell you until later in your life. She said, you’d probably understand later. When we all gathered at Sarah’s bedside on her dying day, she left something for you.
Sarah’s dying words were, “Tell Harry not to worry, God heard you Harry, prayers, cat, miracle and all.” She died in mother’s arms and went on to embrace God’s welcoming arms of love.
The only thing left for me to say was thanks mom. As tears subside, I had learned to enjoy my shared life with Sarah, my family, and an angel that had invaded my life so long ago. Yep it was Betty all right. The unmistakable little angel had appeared again in my life while I was on the way to the hill.
I could feel a sense of contentment in her life as she approached me with a smile on her face. Did I need to pinch myself or was this just a dream and if it was, when was I supposed to wake up? I knew I was eighty years old now but I felt like I was eight. I wasn’t hungry or thirsty and I felt pretty good. I suppose the dream would last as long as I wanted it to. Somehow I didn’t want it to end. So I’ll venture to say, I guess I can move on.
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