The Cat Who Club

Ida And The Black Pearl

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Ida walked into the back door.  It had glass on top,  The sun made beautiful colors cast across the heavy oak kitchen table.  The house was quiet.  Quiet it had been for at least 20 years now.  Mama and Papa were gone as was "Brother" and now Gertie.  They had just buried her this morning...on the family plot. The one everyone liked because of stately oak tree,  Ida would have loved to plant bulbs there...for the springtime... and asters for the fall, but; the city did not allow that.  That way it was harder to mow.  You could put artificial flowers in vases on the grave, but; plastic or silk they faded fast from sun and weather.  Ida thought them ugly, dead looking.  Therefore her family plot remained clean, except for that big beautiful oak tree that shaded it.  She looked around the kitchen.  She always kept it neat and clean, as Mama had taught her Gertie,all those years ago.  She thought she might have a bit to eat, but; where was Pearl? Her Black Pearl?  She had always been there to greet her, for 15 years now.  Every evening she had returned from her job at the library, Pearl would be lying in the dining room window between the window and the lace curtain...waiting...waiting...watching.  It was always so comforting to find her there.  For she had no one but her Black Pearl.   For she had never married, never had children, Gertie  and Brother had.They had loved and had children.  Though the children had loved their Aunt Ida and she had loved the youngsters, they had their own lives now.  They had children and grandchildren.  They did not have much time for Aunt Ida.  Why even little Bobby was retired now. He and Esther had bought one of those RV's and went traveling,"Snowbirds" they were.Ida wast not sure where Bobby and Esther were most of the time.
But, Pearl, where was Pearl?  She was still such a beautiful black cat,  even at her 15 years.  Her coat was black and shiny like a patent leather pump and her tail was long and fluffy, and she carried it like a parasol.  She still had been playful, until last fall.  Ida feared Pearl had rheumatism as she herself had.  Pearl slept more now and she always appeared stiff.  She even had a bit of a limp.  If she went outside, thankfully the neighbors saw her safely across the street.  Mostly she appeared to prefer it in the now.   Lying in the sun, wherever she could find it and the central heat and air kept the weather predictable there and Ida like it that way too. 
 Ida walked through her beautiful home.  It was all hers now.It was hard to keep the wooden floors shiny, The high ceilings dusted,and she was 70 now and tired.   She feared she would fall and break a hip like Mama and Gertie had.  it was the end of both of them and the doctor said she had osteoporosis too.  She must be careful. , for her bones were very fragile and brittle.
Pearl had always liked to sneak to the parlor.  She was not supposed to but, she was an independent cat.  Ida had usually indulged her , because; she loved her so.  Pearl was her baby...he child.   Gertie had sometimes made fun, but; it was because she did not fully understand their relationship. She did not understand Ida's need. Gertie had had her boys, and her two girls and she was really never alone.  Gertie had the support of her Bill ,too.  Ida had no one.  She had had her chances.  Folks had said she was pretty.  She had attracted three, no four beaus, but it always turned out the same.  Ida was too independent.  Set in her Pearl, her Pearl...where is Pearl?   Black Pearl?
Pearl was not in the parlor.  She looked in the bedroom.  It used to be the den, when the whole family lived there,  Now it was her room.  Her nieces and nephews had moved her there when she she was in her sixties.She was already alone then.  Papa and Mama had already passed away and Brother and Gertie were with Jess and Bill.  The upstairs was empty now, except for the furniture and memories of course.  All four bedrooms the one she shared with Gertie as a girl, brother's room and Mama and Papa's room --all empty now.  Even the guest room for company,empty, just memory of cheerful voices and happy times, all quiet like a tomb.  All quiet and empty now, except for her four poster bed, for it had Pearl lying in the middle, The sun shone on her ebony coat, asleep there just as she had as a kitten.  It was a favorite place for the sun shone so brightly there and warmed the shiny black coat.Ida reached for her pet and Pearl jumped and then she coiled and lay on her back for Ida to stroke her exposed belly.  Ida said: Where've you been girl? Mama's been worried."  Black Pearl meowed a peaceful little "Mew!" and Ida wondered if perhaps she was not able to hear her call.  Before Peal would have heard her as soon as she hit the drive.  She said "Poor girl, your getting like your Mama.  We will take care of each other, we are all we have..."  Tears rolled from Ida's eyes as she cuddled Pearl closer and Pearl purred