142. Cuddles and Barley Sugar
© Bruce Goodman 1 March 2014

Bernice was a widow. She had a pet cat. Its name was Cuddles. It was a tabby cat. She’d had it for nineteen years. She’d got it as a kitten. It grew old, and died. She buried it in her garden.

Bernice was sixty-nine. She wondered if she should get another cat. It was company. Something to talk to. A creature to cuddle up to on the bed. Something to care for, since she never had children.

It’s not that she was crazy. Of course, she wasn’t. She belonged to several social clubs of interest. She had friends. But she liked her garden and she liked her home. And she liked having a cat.

The problem was, her age. Do I, she asked herself, at sixty-nine, get another cat that will outlast me? What will become of it when I die? Is it unfair on a cat to do that? Will they simply put it down when I pass away?

Blow it! thought Bernice. I’m getting another! And she did!

It was a calico kitten. A wee girl. She called it Barley Sugar. It was great company. It was so loving and affectionate and as faithfully loyal as a cat could be. They were mutual company. Eighteen years later, when Bernice was eighty-seven, Barley Sugar died of old age. Bernice buried it in the garden.

Four days after, Bernice herself died. Of a broken heart.

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