Ruby Red was born out of grief. She’s nine. She’s spunky. She wears her heart on her sleeve. She appeared out of the blue and stole the first line of my next novel. She took off running and I’ve been tagging along ever since.

It’s difficult to make sense of life after both your sister and brother die within a few months of each other like Ruby’s did. Her whole world turned upside down so Ruby turned to blogging to try and put things “right” again.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Ruby Red's New Kitten

Mama says today is the twelfth day a Christmas. It’s Epiphamy…or maybe Epitome I don’t ’member right but it’s the day the three kings followed the star to the baby Jesus. She says she’s gonna take the Christmas tree down tomorrow ‘n I’ll be mighty glad ’bout that. We put it up on Thanksgivin’ this year—way earlier than ever b’fore. I couldn’t keep from cryin’ ‘n neither could Mama. It all just seemed so strange that Rubin wasn’t helpin’ Daddy with the lights ‘n Loraine wasn’t hollerin’ ’bout havin’ too many blue bulbs in a row or havin’ gaps with no lights at all. We was all quiet like ‘n nobody wanted to eat the decorated sugar cookies that Mama baked special for our tree trimmin’ party. 

When the tree was almost all decorated Mama picked up the tree-top angel ‘n handed her to me. “It’s up to you to do the honors,” she said lookin’ so sad that I burst out cryin’ so hard I couldn’t stop. Puttin’ the angel on the tree was Loraine’s job—her bein’ the oldest ‘n all. Mama sat on the couch ‘n covered her face with her Santa apron while Daddy squeezed my shoulders ‘n then guided me up the ladder. He held my knees ’til I got the angel just right then helped me back down. My legs were so wobbly I could barely stand so I sat down next to Mama. She hugged me ‘n we started cryin’ again. Daddy put the ladder ‘n boxes away ‘n when he came back he just stood in the doorway ‘n didn’t say a word, just looked at the tree real sad like. Mama said, “Come sit with us ‘n have a cookie.” But he didn’t. He just turned round ‘n stormed out the backdoor slammin’ it real hard behind him like he was mad about somethin’. I jerked ‘n looked up at Mama, my heart stopped bein’ sad ‘n started bein’ scared. “Don’t worry ’bout him, honey,” she said. “He’s as upset as you ‘n me about Rubin ‘n Loraine but he don’t know how to express his feelins.” I stared at the back door wonderin’ ‘bout s’pressin’ feelins. I never did eat a cookie. Nobody did.

The next mornin’ Daddy was all smiles. “How ’bout we go ‘n get you an early Christmas present?” he said all cheerful like. That made me smile too ‘n not just ’cause I was gettin’ a present but ’cause Daddy was a smilin’. I looked at Mama ‘n she was smilin’ too—not one a her sad smiles but one a her olden smiles that didn’t have no tears behind it. I jumped up from the breakfast table ‘n gave Daddy a big ole hug. “Where will we get it?” I asked feelin’ like there was jumpin’ beans in my stomach. “At the animal shelter.” Daddy tousled my hair like he used to do when I was little. “I thought you might need a kitten since you been mopin’ round so long.”

Right after breakfast Mama, Daddy, ‘n me climbed into the green pickup. “I heard there’s lots a kittens at the shelter down highway sixty-four,” Daddy said as he backed the truck down to the dirt road in front a our house. Them jumpin’ beans started dancin’ round until my head was spinnin’. I’d been askin’ for a kitten since I was three but nobody never got me one. I plum gave up on ever gettin’ one since Loraine ‘n Rubin…you know…passed on ‘n nobody did much talkin’ ‘bout wantin’ things.

There were lots a kittens at the shelter ‘n I gotta to hold almost all of ’em. There was a orange one, ‘n ’bout six Calicos with blue eyes, ‘n a few gray ones. Most were too squirmy or too sleepy. Mama spotted a little one all alone lookin’ like he was tryin’ to hide under a chair. She picked him up ‘n gave him to me ‘n that little kitten crawled up ‘n snuggled against my heart ‘n purred so loud that I knew I had to take him home. I bit my bottom lip ‘n tried real hard not to cry. I don’t know why I wanted to cry. I was so happy cuddlin’ with that purrin’ ball a black fur. I wanted to purr back…so he’d know how happy I was with him. Then it came to me—people should purr…then we wouldn’t have to be a worrin’ about what they was feelin’.


Judy Baker said...

Love this...I too think people should purrrrrrrr

Beatriz McDavid said...

Love it, Shelia!