Pick of the Litter

The wind howled like it was angry with the sky itself. Livvy hunkered down in the corner of her room where the box sat; the box with the precious cargo. Six little kittens, and her mamma told her she could only keep one. But that was the hardest thing to do, just pick one, when they were all so cute. She watched them all falling all over each other, and tried to see which one had that something special.

The two gray tiger stripped ones weren’t identical. One had white boots, and one did not. The two pure white kittens, with blue eyes, were exactly alike. It was so hard to tell them apart. And the last two of the litter were both two tone. One was mostly white, and a couple of black spots, and the other was black with a white belly, and white paws. That little black and white one was smaller than the others. Mamma had called it the runt of the litter. Livvy figured nobody else would want it, so that was the reason she decided to keep that one. She named her Oshi.

The storm was still raging when Livvy climbed into bed with the small black and white kitten, and told her what her name was. “You’re gonna stay with us, because you’re the most special.” She leaned in close and whispered in the small feline’s ear. “Don’t ever listen to anyone if they say anything about being a runt. Great things come in small packages, Mamma told me once.”

She cuddled up with her new companion. “I know, I’ll tell you a bedtime rhyme. It goes like this: Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon.” Livvy giggled. “Isn’t that just the funniest thing?” The cat purred, and snuggled into Livvy’s arms.

There was so much to tell her about. Livvy thought about how her sister always was writing in that journal, and kept it hidden under her pillow. Livvy thought that was pretty silly, if she did not want anyone to know what she had written about, since everyone could find it and read it. Not that Livvy could, herself. She was not even in first grade yet.  But telling secret thoughts to her little black and white cat, well, that was the safest place to put anything.

Just before she was falling off to sleep, Livvy noticed that the storm had passed.  “Do you hear that? The storm is over. I bet it is because I made my decision to keep you. What do you think?” She fell asleep thinking about that.

In the morning, Livvy brought Oshi to her mother, who was in her bedroom, taking the curlers out of her hair. “Mamma!” she said, holding up Oshi.  “I want to keep this one. I don’t care if she is the littlest one. She will be happy here.”

Her mother nodded. “You know, you are now responsible for feeding her.” She waited for Livvy to acknowledge this.  “I will show you how to do that. For now that will be your chore.” Livvy smiled. This was her first chore.  “Becky will clean the litter box.” Her smile was even bigger. That would be the yucky part, and she did not mind at all.

Livvy and her mother walked around the house while her mother explained a few rules. “You will have to make sure that Oshi doesn’t climb up curtains.” Livvy could not even imagine Oshi would ever do such a thing.  “And cupboards and doors should be kept closed so the little kitty doesn’t get locked away.”  That sounded like a good idea. Her best friend had told her that their puppy had gotten lost, but had really just been locked in a kitchen cabinet.

Her mother’s voice brought her back from remembering her friend’s story. “And under no circumstances is the cat allowed to get on the table where Daddy is playing a chess game with his friend.”

“Yes, Mamma. I mean, not mamma. No getting on the table.”

Cradling Oshi in her arms while she brought her back into her room, she explained all of the rules that her mother had given her. “I know you’ll be a good girl, and we won’t get yelled at.”

Sitting on her bed, she pointed out all of the things she had, that were now also Oshi’s. “See that?” she pointed at the wall mural. It was a beautiful rainbow, and on the far right side was the pot of gold. “mamma told me that pot there with yellow things in it was that piece of resistance. What does it look like to you?” Livvy shrugged. “I don’t even know what that means. But, you know what? There’s going to be lots of time for you and me to figure out all the riddles of life.”