by Anya Babochenko
This story is not about a dog…
My main dream since childhood was to get a dog as a gift. I don’t know why, but I’ve always liked them better than cats. When Nastya M, my school friend, went out for a walk with her Dachshund, my heart sank with resentment and I was ready to cry from annoyance and injustice. But my dad was absolutely against having a dog live with us. The tears, the entreaties and the arguments did not work. I was feeling blue.
Summer came and I, like many children, went to my grandmother for 3 months. My story happened exactly there, in the village “Glubokii Ovrag”.
Here I think it is important to mention that shortly before my arrival in the village there was a fire which burned down the house of my friend. So I lost my only friend there, and my grandmother decided to send me to a mini-camp, which was located a few kilometers from our house. There I met other children and we spent part of the day together.
On my birthday, when I was eleven years old, a miracle happened. And no, it wasn’t my parents who gave me a dog, it was a neighboring cat who gave birth, and I suddenly decided that this was a sign, and one of the kittens should definitely be mine. Where did the dislike of these animals go is unknown, and I boldly chose a red kitten with blue eyes. He was very funny: plump, shaggy, and also walked with an amusing waddle. Even my grandmother’s heart melted at the sight of him.
I immediately took the kitten to my room and poured milk into a saucer. He popped a little, then went around the room and licked all the things. Then, right in the middle of the living room, he wagged his short tail, walked around a little more, and next to the sofa he fell asleep. I instantly lay down next to him on the mat. It seemed to me that in the whole world there was nothing sweeter and more precious than this fluffy, soft and warm lump. I gently reached out and stroked the kitten. He woke up, raised his cute face and began to purr with delight. At that moment, I thought that no one had kinder eyes than my Peach. (So I named the kitten, based on its color and rounded shape). He put his face on his right paw and went back to sleep. And I kept walking around, looking at him and couldn’t get enough of this creature. When he woke up, I was walking on air and I hugged him so tightly for joy that the kitten even screamed.
A few minutes later, I heard my grandmother calling my name. While taking care of my new pet, I completely forgot to get ready for camp. But I was so unwilling to part with this lovely creature that for a moment I felt like the most miserable person.
I really didn’t want to leave my Peach at home. For a very long time I stood over my kitten in sad thought. When you think about something very deeply, you will definitely come up with an extraordinary idea. The same thought occurred to me. It was decided to take Peach to the camp and show everyone my new friend. Come rain or shine, I thought, and quickly took my sneakers, cap and sandwiches out of the bag, put old newspapers in it, and there I put my Peach.
When I arrived at the camp, I quickly and carefully left my kitten in the locker room so that he would not wake up.
For the first hour, Peach was safely asleep and I could safely study and play with other children. After a while, I got very hungry, and I had to ask for food from Darina, my so-called camp colleague, because Sasha and Alyona, with whom I was friends, did not come. I even remember our conversation.
“Why didn’t you bring your food?” she grumbled when we were given time for lunch.
What are you sorry for? I asked. “Listen, I whispered suddenly,” guess who’s in my bag?”
“I’m not interested at all,” the girl said.
“All right,” I pouted, “I’ll show Vadim.”
I quickly got up from the table and went in the other direction, when suddenly Darina called me back and offered me part of her lunch in exchange for showing me who was in my bag. We finished our sandwiches and ran to the locker room. There I opened my bag and showed my Peach. Suddenly, Darina screamed at the top of her lungs that I was crazy, that I had brought the poor kitten to the camp. The camp counselors and other children gathered to hear her screams. When they saw that I had actually brought a Peach with me, they made me put it away immediately before the day was over. I was very upset. They were not happy for me, so they also decided to spoil the mood on my birthday.
I left the locker room in silence. My Peach was already awake and turning his head curiously, surprised that there were so many children around.
But while I was carrying him in my arms, he fell asleep again. I took it out into the yard, where there were a lot of logs, and put it behind them, asking him to wait for me a little.
Back at the camp, I waited for the end of the day and when we were released, I immediately ran into the yard. Almost all the other guys ran after me.
I was a little down in the dumps when I saw that the Peach wasn’t there. I started looking for him nearby and all the children tried to help me. Not far from us sat a grandmother, who said that she saw grandpa Victor, a strange man of 70 years old, whom we knew well, took the kitten with him.
We looked at each other in disbelief. It was decided to go in search of a Peach. We were even joined by counsellors. The thought of never seeing my soft and tender Peach again made my heart bleed.
We ran towards the birch grove where this grandfather’s house was located and saw that he was carrying my Peach in a Bicycle basket. Suddenly, he braked sharply, and then disappeared somewhere. The guys started shouting at him, and I just stood there and sobbed.
When I got home, I told my grandmother everything, and we went to grandpa Victor to return my Peach. This man lived in a dilapidated wooden house. His wife opened the door. When she found out why we were there, she asked the old man to return the kitten to us.
She came out soon after, carrying Peach in her arms. I picked him up and, thanking the old woman, quickly followed my grandmother. When I left the house, I looked back and saw grandpa Victor in the window. He stood there, wide-eyed, with big tears streaming down his cheeks. When he saw me looking at him, he waved hesitantly. I asked my grandmother why he was so sad, and she told me that a few years ago, he and his wife lost their children and grandchildren in a terrible accident. I looked again at the windows of their house. Victor was still standing and waving. At that moment, he seemed so unhappy and lonely that I thought that he had no one else at all, and I also took the kitten. Startled by this thought, I abruptly walked back. When I got to the door, I asked for this old man and gave him my Peach. He immediately became happy, and then invited us to tea and gave us a picture that he had painted when he was young.
That day I realized a very important thing, I realized that kindness connects us to others, and this is its joy.
P.S. grandfather Victor died 6 years ago, and his wife, Zoya, still lives in that house with Peach.