“Chapters” by Robert Webber Chipman
The old man lay propped up in bed looking out the hospital window when his nurse came in. The nurse smiled as she adjusted the monitors and tubes hooked up to him.
“How are you feeling today?” She asked …
“I’m feeling fine,” He said in a raspy voice, “…but I’m going to die today.”
Before the nurse could protest, he quickly said “No, no … it’s OK… everyone has their time and today is mine.”
He took a couple of labored breaths as the machines beeps and buzzed around him…
“I think about time a lot nowadays and about life in general … did I ever tell you about a cat I had when I was younger? I used to enjoy going to rummage and estate sales and I went to one at a farm nearby a long time ago … amongst all the treasures for sale was a sign which said “ free” and “cats” … which happen to be two of my favorite words … I was living alone in an 8 x 16 foot camper and thought some company would be nice so I went over to look.”
“They had a few dozen barn cats and the farm owners had to thin out the herd so they were giving them away … there were all different types of tabbys and shorthairs but it was a small tortoise shell kitty that rubbed up against my leg and wanted to come home with me. I picked her up and she had the prettiest blue/green eyes.”
“The farmers had named her Precious but that didn’t seem right … So I called her ‘Princess’ and that was her name from then on … I lived in that camper for three more years and when I would go to bed she would crawl up on my chest , curl into a ball and purr her way to sleep … she was a sweet girl.’
“For seventeen years her favorite pastime was sleeping in sunbeams … she would curl up next to me for some belly rubs and hours of purring … then one day she looked up at me and her beautiful blue/green eyes seemed to say ‘I’m feeling fine. But I’m going to die today.’”
The old man coughed a few times and took another breath and the nurse checked another monitor…
“I have had many pets, but I never forgot her … it’s like a favorite chapter of a book … the chapter ends, and it has to … or else the story can’t keep going on …”
He coughed again,
“… Chapters have to end… ” He smiled, “… but the story doesn’t …”
The old man closed his eyes as the alarms from the monitors sounded … he could hear the nurse calling for help and people rushing around, but he was OK … it was time to sleep.
His eyes opened … “What a weird dream…” he thought as Mama-cat started licking his head “… with beeps and alarms and…” , he stretched his paws out and the dream was forgotten. “Time to play” he thought and ran over to his brothers and sisters. He looked up as the door opened and several humans walked in … a little girl looked around the room and suddenly saw him. “That’s the one!” She said excitedly, “ Can we keep him!” and ran over to pick him up…
The parents smiled and said “Yes, you can keep him”…
She hugged the little kitten and looked into his face and said “ I’m going to call you ‘Prince’”
He curled up in her arms, smiled and started purring and thought “ So now I have a new human and a new name … and she has the prettiest blue/green eyes.”
We live and gather experiences on this journey of life and like a book we have chapters … some chapters are long, some are short … some chapters start out slow and some hit the ground running… each page is an important part of our individual stories… and some stories you wish could go on forever.
The details in this story of how I met my kitty, Princess, are true and the past 17 years have been a wonderful chapter in my life.
Today this chapter ended and her story and journey continues on the other side… I miss my Princess and hope that maybe in another story and in another time she can be my human and I can be her kitty …
R.I.P. little one …