[how it began…]

[how it began…]

Tomorrow is the day to say goodbye to a friend, a member of my family for 19 years.

It has been the toughest decision I ever had to make. Surprisingly, I managed to call the vet and talk to her calmly (I did pray right before calling for my voice to remain stable). I haven’t yet cried today either. It will come. I suspect I will be a mess all next week.

But then, I also found myself surrounded by e-mails, calls, messages, prayers and hugs from friends, some of whom I haven’t even met face to face… And I am so thankful for those words of comfort and encouragement they pass along.

I look at my dear furry monster as she rests curled up next to me on the couch and I think back to the very beginning, to the very day when we got her.


It has been 19 years since that fateful Saturday afternoon when my grandma, my best childhood friend Nikita, and I went to the zoo market. The reason for going there was quite simple: we needed to buy food for the parakeet that I had. I wasn’t really fond of that parakeet (it was awfully loud in the wee hours of the morning…), but we got the two from our friends, missionaries on their way back to the United States, and we kept them. Then the lady parakeet killed off the guy parakeet and for a couple of years, she lived alone, a proud widow of a parakeet.

We bought food for the bird and then, as was our mini-tradition, went to look at the other animals at the market. I knew that we could not get anything because my cousin was allergic to fur, but it did not hurt to look, right?

Well… we walked around and then I looked to my left and saw a pair of the most wonderful blue eyes.

I could not walk past. We came to talk to the lady who held a latte-colored Balinese kitten and I looked pleadingly at my grandma. My friend did too. (He lived in the apartment next door, so he and I hung out together quite often.)

“Can we please please please get her?”

Grandma shook her head. “You know Natasha is allergic.”

“What if we clean everything before Natasha comes really well? She should not be allergic then?”

We pleaded and pleaded, made puppy eyes, and finally Grandma gave in.

“How much do you want for her?”

“Fifteen griven.”

Grandma looked at me. “We can’t get her – I don’t have that much money with me at the moment.”

I was on the verge of tears because I knew that there was something special about that kitten with bright blue eyes.

“How much do you have right now?” asked the lady with the kitten.

“7.40 griven.”

“Okay. I’ll sell her for that much.”

It was the most glorious day in my life. We got back home, with a stupid happy-as-possible grin on my face, the kitten hiding beneath my hair on my shoulder.

Mom came home later.

“We got a new toy!” I declared as soon as she walked into the apartment.

She took one glance at Grandma and asked “Did you get a cat?”

“YES! How did you know?”

“I just… had a feeling.”

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