I once got a Christmas present that didn’t arrive until Easter
“I’ve got something for you” said Gerald, neighbour and family friend,
sweeping into our house for my parents pre-Christmas drinks party.
There was no parcel under his arm or sticking out of his coat pocket.
“It’s a Persian kitten that’s yet to be born. You’ll get it in a few months time”
“I’ll have to tell them” I whispered.
My parents were dead set against pets
“You’ll have plenty of time to choose your moment”.
He handed me his coat and headed into the party.
I forgot all about Gerald and his non-existent Persian kitten.
Though I would have liked one
Late spring that year I got very sick – the doctor made house calls.
Bedrest and antibiotics were prescribed.
One afternoon after school
my sister toiled up the stairs to my room.
She stood just inside the door with her hands behind her back.
My mother had put the fear of God into her about getting infected with whatever I’d got.
She was usually just allowed to put her head round the door.
Stepping into my room took courage on her part.
“A friend of yours has come to stay ”she said.
I couldn’t understand what she was talking about.
I thought I was fever delirious again.
“I’ve called him Felix” she said. “We learnt “Felix the cat in Latin today”
True Fact: She never was much good at Latin.
The kitten was so small he fitted into the palm of her hand.
“Gerald left him in for you. He said he hoped you would be better soon”
Mother came up later with my medicine and supper
“Your father and I agree you should have told us about Gerald’s present.
It’s too late now to say anything to him. It’s all your doing.
When you go back to school you can ask if one of the other pupils in your class wants a Persian kitten.
After such deception we can’t possibly allow you to keep it”
(Felix threatened with eviction)
Head throbbing I sank back on to the pillows.
The whole kitten situation was beyond me!
Days passed. I started getting better.
The doctor delivered his verdict
“Back to school on Monday”
Mother came up to my room on Sunday night.
“Felix has been living here for 10 days” she said.
True Fact: I hadn’t seen him since that brief visit with my sister.
“Your father and I have got to like him” she said
He stayed for 17 years. A very long life for a cat!