83: The Miracle

83: The Miracle

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What?

The Miracle

What greater gift than the love of a cat?

~Charles Dickens

“Alex! Don’t move,” I whisper to our gray and silver Manx. She sits still on the deck railing, her ears lying back against her head, hair standing on end, a most violent sound emanating from her throat. Ten feet past Alex is a black bear. The bear looks merely curious, but Alex, in her usual feisty mood, is certain she is going to attack anything that comes into the yard. She has already been known to break up a three-way dogfight and teach the neighbor’s dog a lesson. And here I am standing in the line of fire between a black bear and her.

I know I should probably go inside, but I’m terrified to leave Alex. I continue to soothe her. “Shhh, it’s okay he’s just curious. He means no harm. And if he did I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t win.” I pet the top of her head. The bear cocks his head and slowly saunters back into the woods. My legs turn to jelly with relief. “Goodness cat, I don’t know where you get your attitude from but it sure is something.”

“Are you talking to the cat again?” My husband ventures outside.

“Yep. Just talking her down from scrapping it out with a black bear. You know — everyday conversation.” I grin. “Speaking of animals, when is Gunnar bringing Walker over?”

“He said he would bring him over tomorrow and they will pick him up again in December.”

“I sure hope he and Alex get along. Even though he’s a Doberman and looks intimidating, I’m still worried she is going to beat him up. I would hate to let your brother down.”

“No kidding. Let’s just see how it goes tomorrow.”

The day is upon us and Walker has been left in our care for a few months. “Hey Walker, buddy, how are you?” I scratch our temporary resident’s ears. Alex is sitting close by. She eyes him but surprisingly hasn’t made her usual fuss. Walker doesn’t seem to mind her either. He hasn’t barked, growled or even tried to chase her. He is such a good dog. I’m at ease the rest of the day. Yes, this will work out well.

“Todd, have you seen Alex? I’ve been calling for her since I got up this morning.” I peer into the woods, wondering where she could be. The early morning fall frost is still fresh on the step. “It’s so unlike her. She is usually right at my heels looking for her ears to be scratched.”

“No, I haven’t seen her. Did Walker chase her off?” He looks puzzled.

“I don’t think so. He hasn’t even gone near her. I’m going to go ask the neighbors if anyone has seen her.” I head off to ask around.

Hours later I’m home with no good news. I plunk down on the deck steps next to my husband. “Nothing. No one has seen her.” I lay my head on his shoulder, weary with worry about my cat. “I guess we’ll just keep looking. I won’t give up on her.”

“I know you won’t. Maybe Walker told her where to go,” he jokes, trying to lighten the mood. “Or maybe she thinks we replaced her,” he wonders seriously.

I jump up. “Here kitty kitty.” I walk off into the woods looking for her.

The snow is gently falling. It’s been three months since we have seen Alex. I put her food out. It doesn’t seem like it ever disappears but I refresh it daily. Hoping beyond hope that she is out there somewhere. I pause at Walker’s dish. I don’t need to fill his dish today; he went home with Gunnar. It sure is lonely without the furry babies around. I look up at the snowflakes gently falling. I wonder if God would hear my prayer.

God, wherever Alex is, please take care of her. I know she might be with you, or maybe just living with someone a few roads over, but wherever she is, please keep her safe. Especially tonight on Christmas Eve. I wish I could see her again. Amen.

I head indoors for the typical Christmas Eve festivities. The cookies are laid out for Santa with his milk. I write a quick note.

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is my cat.

xoxoxo

Todd and I hit the bed exhausted. It’s a restless, dreamless sleep. I clamber out of bed during the wee morning hours. The bathroom window is illuminated with bright moonlight. Beautiful sparkling snow shining in the moonlight. It’s magical. I notice right where the moonbeams come down onto the yard sits a little animal, quiet, not moving. It’s very small, like a cat. It doesn’t move a muscle. I squint. Oh my goodness, it looks just like Alex. But no, it can’t be. She’s been gone for over three months. I blink and the yard is empty. I rub my eyes. I must have been dreaming or hallucinating. I hurry and go back to bed. Again I fall into a restless sleep but I dream of a gray and silver Manx curled up next to me.

“Mom! Mom! Mom and Dad get up! Santa came!” The kids are hopping up and down on the bed.

We stumble out to our recliners and watch the gift opening through squinty, sleepy eyes, inserting oooh’s and ahhh’s in the right places. All the gifts have been opened. The kids are playing quietly with their new toys. I am enjoying the quiet when I hear a knocking at the door. Who in the world could that be at this hour? I hop up from my chair and answer the door. When I open it I see no one looking at me, but I hear the sound again coming from the lower part of the screen door. I glance down and there sits my beautiful baby. Gray and silver, fluffy and fit. I stand awestruck for several seconds, sure that she must be an illusion.

“Meow.” And she paws the door again.

“Honey, who is it?” Todd is asking.

“It’s Alex… It’s ALEX!” I gently open the door and scoop her into my arms. I squeeze her, hug her, kiss her, tears stream down my face.

Todd comes to inspect the miracle.

The kids come running. “Alex! Alex! Alex!”

I’m crying as I hold my beautiful gray and silver cat, my husband’s arms around me. Our kids are jumping up and down around us, cheering. Hugs and kisses, and “oh we missed you” all around. It’s the most beautiful sight. It’s the most beautiful moment.

The moment is ours. Our family’s most special moment. A miracle witnessed and the best Christmas ever.

~Denise Taylor

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