The Kitten Chronicles: Buttons

By Ariel Kane
Shya and Baby the Kitten napping

The Kitten Chronicles: Buttons

It was laundry day. I was in the basement and had just put a load in the dryer. As I headed to the stairs, I saw Shya coming down, a little cup of espresso in each hand – one for him and one for me. My smile upon seeing him quickly turned to concern. Lips compressed he was choking back tears.

“What happened? Are you all right?”

It was hard for Shya to form words he was so overcome with emotions. Finally, he blustered out a single word:

“Buttons.”

A hand on his back, I waited. With my other hand I took one of the espressos, freeing him up, and he wiped his eyes. His gaze was filled with emotion as he looked at me and said:

“When I was just a boy, maybe 7 or 8 years old, I had a little black and white kitten. His name was Buttons. I loved that kitten. Our landlord, who lived downstairs, killed him – he broke his back with a pipe.”

He paused as I saw that horrific scene in my mind’s eye. I could only imagine what it would have been like to be a child witnessing it.

Shya continued, “I was playing with Baby just now, and the pictures came flooding back. When Buttons was killed, I swore I would never let myself be that vulnerable again. And now I find myself wanting to hold back from loving our kitten because I might lose her. I know it’s silly, but I had no idea that that whole event was locked tightly away inside me.”

He began to cry again softly as I hugged him. Then he wiped his tears. After a few moments he gifted me with a tremulous smile and we each savored a sip of coffee. Mounting the stairs we found Baby and gave her some love – love we both were free to feel and to share.

It’s sweet to know how this little kitten has not only brought us real time pleasure, but how she has also returned to us bits of ourselves we hadn’t even known were lost.

See all posts in The Kitten Chronicles series here.

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