By Eliza Jordan | firstname.lastname@example.org
I huffed and puffed about yet another thing bugging me.
I checked again: still nothing.
Odds and ends like condiments, pickles and chocolate syrup filled my fridge. I needed to go to the grocery store, but creating the grocery list and executing it would have taken more time than I had set aside for.
So I got in my car and headed 3 houses down. I know, I know, a short walk, but I drove my car instead. I needed to make a Carmelo’s run and only for a few little things. Not enough things to go to the grocery store for, but more to carry than I had arms for.
I put the key in the ignition as I heard a faint “meow” over the starting sounds of my car.
I heard it again as I parked my car.
When I opened my door, customers were lingering outside and were curiously staring at my car as if something was out of the ordinary. â€¨I looked around and checked my surroundings to verify that yes, they were in fact staring at my car and my car only.
“Meow.” I heard again, and this time, the little cry for help sounded to almost be reverberating within my car.
What is going on? I thought. Where is this little meow coming from? I climbed out of the driver’s seat, timid to shut the door and crush what sounded like a cat in my car.
I asked a guy standing in front of the car next to mine, “Did you hear that ‘meow’?
“Yeah,” he said. “It sounds like you’re dragging a cat.”
My heart stopped. â€¨No way, I thought. But I had to look anyway.
I laid my back down on the cement and looked underneath my car–no cat.
Engine pipe–no cat.
“Meow.” I heard again, an increasingly louder, desperate cry for help.
Oh no! I thought. What if there was a kitten underneath the hood of my car? Actually in my car?
I listened to those standing around trying to offer me advice and popped and propped the hood of my car open.
“MEOW!” The kitten was yelling at me, screaming for help but I could not find her anywhere.
Two girls from school stood next to me as I searched under my hood for a little breath of animal life. We grabbed for our cell phones, all of us using our flashlight apps or ridiculously bright screens to hunt for this little engine-hugging creature.
Just then, with all of our lights pointing in the same direction, a beautiful, black handful of a kitten shined her bright green eyes up at us. I reached between the darkness, feeling every dirty pipe in hopes of not losing my fingertips to her claws. â€¨ I lowered my right hand down just a few more inches and felt her latch on to my wrist.
As I pulled her away from the hot, twisted pipes that she was hiding beneath, I looked at her as she looked at me.
So little, so lost. So confused and young. She fit in the palms of my hands. Her head was no bigger than a lemon, her paws no bigger than pennies. She couldn’t have been older than 4 or 5 weeks.
She was shaking as I wrapped her up in the bottom of my shirt. She looked exhausted. Soot caked in both ears, and a thick layer of dirt in her thin cat hair, the little kitten was filthy.
How in the world did this little kitten crawl into the hood of my car? Much less, how did I find her alive, and with perfect timing, as to not burn her into kitty ash under the hood of my car?
I was in shock. My eyes were wide for the first five minutes with her as we sat outside of the gas station, both of us glaring at people as they passed by. A simple gas station run in the middle of the night turned into finding one of the most precious things I had ever stumbled upon–and at the most perfect time too. At a time when it felt like the world was crashing down, I found the most helpless animal in dire need for my care.
We entered Carmelo’s together. Her neck craned back and she sunk into the pit of my folded forearm. She closed her eyes as I picked out her salmon patte and kitty litter. â€¨I forgot about my short, little grocery list completely. I forgot about what I needed, what I wanted, what I thought my problems were at that moment, and got only what I knew this little kitten had to have.
When I took her home, I brought her straight to Honey, my 5-year-old chihuahua baby. She went straight into convulsion. Her little limbs looked feeble as she backed up to let the kitten walk around her.
For the first two days, she wouldn’t get out of the blanket pallet that I had created for her. She scarfed down every bit of kitty mush I offered to her and she cried at night as she kneaded the side of my ribcage, expecting her momma. â€¨She kneaded Honey’s side, crying for attention, for love and affection.
On the third morning, I sat straight up in the midst of a dead sleep. I heard a noise that I hadn’t heard in many years.
Play puddy. The sound you hear when you dig your fist into that tight, plasic goo. The gush sound. The gross sound.
I looked down to the foot of my bed as the kitten stared back at me. Innocent and naive.
There she was, taking the poop of her life right there at my feet.â€¨ She twisted her fuzzy little head to the side, glancing at me every half second to see if I was still looking at her.
Awesome. I thought. It’s 6 a.m. and I now have to clean kitty poo.
But with each and every problem that arose with her, I learned to appreciate what she was doing for me. Not necessarily bed poops or digging her claws in to my sea of hair, but something along those lines.
She was slowly stabilizing me. She was making me realize that the problems I thought I had were miniscule. I’m not fresh to the world. I’m not hiding under the hood of a car for safety. I’m not terminally ill. I’m not geographically lost.
I cleaned her kitten bum. Then my comforter. I grabbed a napkin and then her tiny kitten poop and sat them in her litter box. This, I thought, has to work.
She associated me opening the fridge with milk and tuna soon after. After this, she would come charging to the refrigerator door before it was even an inch open.
She became friends with Honey. She became comfortable with walking from room to room. She understood that life beyond these walls was something that she once had to deal with.
I went to bed the fourth night on the couch, as I had relocated our little family to a more neutral room. I lied there for quite some time wondering just how long I would keep her for.
Am I growing attached to something that I never expected to grow attached to?
Am I actually liking the sense of responsibility and appreciating something that literally needs me?
I felt important as I drifted off into sleep.
The next morning, awoken by a strange sound yet again, I sat straight up with tired eyes and an asleep right arm.
The play puddy sound haunted me into another frustrated morning. Looking down at the foot of my couch, I expected to see the baby black puff doo-dooing, this time perhaps, on my pretty pink socks.
NO! I remembered thinking. NO WAY!
There she was, pleasant and charming, sitting up straight in her litter box, as happy as ever. There she was, staring up at me, showing me first-hand her potty training technique.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
I looked at the clock: 7:21 a.m. and right then and there, I gave her a name.
I named her Oviedo after the street that I live on.
It’s where she found me. It’s where I found her.
It’s where we found each other amidst madness and hard times.
It’s where she grew to appreciate a helping hand. It’s where I understood that something or someone out there needed me just as I thought I needed nothing more.
At a time where I felt overwhelmed by just one more email, I learned to appreciate the small things in life.
Oviedo helped me realize that pushing problems aside or dragging my feet isn’t always a move worth making.
I marked the day on my calendar.
9/29/11— I realized I was blessed by a blessing in disguise.