Sixteen year old Emily walked the short half block down to Amanda Grey's house and rang the doorbell. Emily liked babysitting for her neighbor Amanda, and although Amanda thought she was too big to need a sitter, Amanda always enjoyed Emily's company.
Hiya squirt, Emily said, rumpling Amanda's hair when she opened the door.
Oh, good, there you are, hello Emily, goodbye Emily, love you Amanda, be good. Timothy should be back by seven! called Amanda's grandmother breathlessly, blowing Amanda a kiss as she hurried out the door, car keys jingling.
Timothy was three years older than his sister Amanda, and was working on a science fair project at his friend Billy's house. He was going to have dinner with Billy's family.
Got anything good to eat? asked Emily.
Gram said there's a ton of turkey in the fridge. We can either have turkey sandwiches and potato chips, or turkey with mashed potatoes and vegetables.
Emily looked at Amanda and Amanda looked at Emily.
Sandwiches! they both said at the same time, and they headed for the kitchen.
Yum, said Emily, as she began slathering mayonaise and placing slices of cold roast turkey on fresh baked bread.
Milk? asked Amanda, getting glasses down from the cupboard.
Milk, agreed Emily with a nod.
Boy, this is great, sighed Emily when they finished their sandwiches. I really needed to get away from my house for a little while.
Why? asked Amanda.
Oh, I don't know. Well actually I do know. My mom's grandmother moved in with us a couple of weeks ago. She's really old, you know. But it sort of gives me the creeps, 'cause mostly she follows me around the house and cries a lot.
Gosh, said Amanda, You know that almost sounds like...
Suddenly a series of shrieks pierced the night air. The sound was so loud and so strange, it almost sounded like a baby, crying right outside the door.
OH WOW, OH WOW, OH WOW!
Emily's eyes got big as saucers. What on EARTH was THAT?? she gasped.
Amanda shook her head. She put her napkin down and walked over
to open the kitchen door.
A little tabby cat stood trembling on the doorstep.
The cat looked up at Amanda and gave a weary little sigh.
Oh, Little Kitty, said Amanda, How in the world did you get outside?
Oh-wow, came the forlorn reply.
Awww, come here little girl, said Amanda and held her hands out. Amanda scooped Little Kitty up into her arms, shoved the door shut with one foot, and then sat down in her chair again.
Amanda leaned back and cuddled the frightened little cat, softly stroking her head. In a few moments the trembling stopped. The cat rested its head against Amanda, closed its eyes, and began to purr.
I give up, said Emily. What the heck was all that about?
Little Kitty's old, said Amanda. Really, REALLY old. The vet told us that she's senile. Her mind isn't working quite right.
Emily started to laugh.
No, really, said Amanda, with a serious expression on her face. Honest. That's what he said. He told us that most of her hearing's gone, and that now she sometimes forgets where she is. When she thinks she's lost, she gets really, really scared. And when she gets scared, she starts to shake and cry. Like she did a few minutes ago.
Emily suddenly looked stricken.
Oh, oh, oh...you poor little girl, said Emily, as she reached out and stroked Little Kitty's face.
Poor, poor little girl, Emily sighed. She really needed a hug, didn't she?
Emily was very quiet for a few minutes.
Finally she said to Amanda, You know, that's sort of what my Dad told me about my great-gramma. He said that she's got something called Alzheimers, and that it makes her forget a lot of stuff, like where she is, and who we are. Sometimes she doesn't even recognize my Mom. She sometimes even thinks I'm my mom, when my mom was a little girl. And when I try to duck her, she just sort of stands there and cries. My Dad's been telling me that we need to give her a lot of love.
Amanda nodded understandingly, as Little Kitty nestled contentedly in her arms.
A little while later, once Little Kitty was sound asleep in
her basket, Amanda's brother Timothy came in, and the three of them had ice
cream while they watched a movie about a dog and a cat who became the best of
||After Amanda's grandmother returned home at nine, Emily walked the short distance back to her own house.|
Emily put the chain on her front door, turned off the porch light and hearing a sound, turned to see a shadow in the corner.
Gramma? said Emily.
Emily's great grandmother sat quietly at one end of the couch in the darkened living room. She was trembling ever so slightly, and Emily could just make out a tear trickling slowly down one cheek. A muffled sound escaped her great-grandmothers lips. To Emily it sounded like a forlorn little oh-wow.
Emily shook her head and sighed. Oh Gramma, Emily said gently, opening her arms to her grandmother.
Poor little girl. I'll bet you need a hug.
The Cat Who Cried Oh-WOW
About the Author:
Cynthia Gurin lives in South Florida with her husband Bob,
a quartet of cats, two dogs, and a remarkably wise duck. She has achieved recognition
in both the Miami Herald and The Wall Street Journal for innovative marketing
techniques. She considers the Personal Ad, through which she met her husband,
to be her most rewarding literary endeavor. She holds a senior corporate position
in the real world. Send Mail
"The Cat Who Cried Oh-Wow!," inspired by and dedicated to; Emily May Smith Pandolfo.
The real Emily
crossed the Rainbow Bridge far too soon, on July 15,
The real Little Kitty, who had reached the grand old age of 24, joined her there three weeks later, on August 4, 2003. We were holding her in our arms when she quietly slipped out of her worn-out little cat suit and scampered across the Rainbow Bridge.
Both Emily and Little Kitty were very much loved. Not to worry. We'll find each other again.
For Other stories by Cynthia Gurin: See the Author/Illustrator