This week, I neither had the time to post my writing nor my illustrations.
So here is a follow-up of Tuesday’s sketch and writing:
The Day Mikki Was Lost (31-day writing challenge 7/31) (1186/500)
We once lived in a four-family building.
I was good friends with the neighbour’s children and we used to play on the backside of the building’s premises. Mikki would sit on the kitchen balcony and observe us play.
‘Mikki,’ I would call her sometimes, ‘all well up there?’ and she’d meow in response. Not sure if that represented a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. I guess it was closer to a ‘no’ when soon after she’d walk along the narrow copper ledge that connected the balcony with the roof terrasse to chase birds instead of us.
It made me nervous watching her balance along the ledge and she did fall a couple of times. Luckily, we were always around to witness her fall and able to attend to her immediately. Apart from a few scratches she always remained unharmed as she usually would fall on the side of the grass patch below.
One late November, I came home from school looking for her. After searching indoors without success, I went to search on the kitchen balcony. When she was not there, I looked through my bedroom window that was facing the rooftop terrasse. With no luck there either, I went to the side of the living room and the living room balcony, as she sometimes would wait in front of this balcony door to be let back in.
I started to get a bit nervous. I went to my neighbours and asked if she possibly entered through their balcony door (Mikki had free access to both our balconies). Unfortunately, they hadn’t seen her, either.
At this point I was more than worried, I was terrified suspecting that she could have fallen off the roof.
I went upstairs to the old lady living above us. She remembered seeing a cat downstairs at the main entrance but shooed her away as she did not recognise her to be Mikki! ‘Oh no’, I thought to myself, ‘what a tragedy!’ I immediately went to search for her around the building premises. Nothing, no trace of Mikki.
I was devastated. Once my parents got home from work, I sobbed and told them what happened. Everybody of the building was alarmed and we all went searching for her in. But Mikki was nowhere to be found.
Back in my room, I felt empty. I could feel that the tiny little space she usually claimed for herself now left a giant void of nothingness. I was heartbroken, crushed, and concerned about Mikki’s wellbeing.
She was not used to being outside like this. She also had no idea of the dangers of busy streets and we lived on the main road of this small town. This street was often busy during peak hours with many trucks as it leads to the freeway. I hoped Mikki would have gone up the hill in direction of the fields and not down the hill across the busy main road in direction of the freeway!
The next day, my dad suggested we write a small column for the newspaper that our cat had gone missing. We lived in a really small town of about 6000 people, so placing an add in the local newspaper was not a big deal.
I did my part and wrote pamphlets with a description of Mikki and where and when she went missing and stuck them wherever I could. I also informed friends and teachers at school.
Days went by, still no Mikki. It was already mid-December and I was drowning in sadness wondering if she was ok. When some folks came up with the rumour she might have been caught to end up as a Christmas meal (how bizarre is that!?) terrified me.
Shortly before Christmas, our phone rang. ‘Good evening,’ the lady on the phone said, ‘I read your newspaper add about the missing cat and wondered if Mikki was still missing because I happened to have seen a cat that fits your description.’ My parents and I immediately jumped into the car and drove to the area Mikki may have been sighted. But it was getting quickly dark and we didn’t spot a cat.
We called the search off. ‘Thank you for your help,’ my dad said, ‘and please do let us know if you see this cat again.’ Disappointed we got back in the car and headed home.
Christmas came and passed. It was a sad one.
On December 31st we received another phone call. This time it was a different woman who lived in the opposite direction of the first suspected sighting. This made us very doubtful that it could be Mikki but we wanted to stay positive.
‘You two go check. I cannot come along as I don’t think I can handle the pressure of another possible disappointment.’ my mum said.
With hope in our hearts, my dad and I jumped into the car and drove to this lady’s home.
Upon arrival, two small dogs barked at us in excitement as we entered the apartment.
‘For some days, I’ve been observing this cat in the neighbourhood’, the lady said, ‘this one looked too skinny and dirty to be accustomed to outdoor life. She also seemed hungry and frightened. So I took her in. My neighbour remembered your newspaper add and kept it in case she would spot the cat.’ she continued. ‘Follow me, I brought the cat into the guest room and closed the door so she is not stressed about my two dogs. As you can see, they are very curious and lively!’ the woman added and laughed as she led us down the hallway. The dogs jumped along.
‘Here’s the room’, she said and opened the door in a way the dogs could not slip in, ‘you can go in and see if this cat is Mikki.’
I entered into a long narrow room. There was a cupboard to my right and a single bed to my left. At the end of the room was a window. But no cat in sight. ‘She might be hiding under the bed’, the woman told me, ‘feel free to check.’ she encouraged me.
‘Mikkiiiiii!’ I exclaimed the moment my head touched the floor. Mikki came charging right at me and she practically jumped into my arms (a thing she never did, she hated to be carried). I stood up with Mikki in my arms. I was overjoyed!
I always wonder what Mikki must have experienced in those five weeks on her own. I hoped she had some good experiences. But the condition we found in her gave evidence that Mikki certainly had a rough time. Her teeth were broken, her fur was not white but yellow with car oil stains and she was only fur and bones.
Of course, we nicely pampered her and after a couple of weeks of rejuvenation, Mikki was quite the usual grumpy pants we knew and loved.