The Student News Site of Teen Scene, Inc

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Like Us on Facebook

Clara the Cat

Photo credit: Dan Dodge
“I dare you to put that girly collar on me.”

When Micheal was an above knee-high, scrap of nuisance [ still scaling the Cliffs of Concrete Operations*], his very favorite person in the world wasn’t a person. It was Clara, his Russian blue cat.

Feeding Clara on an as-need [cat] basis, was no chore for Micheal, as was cleaning out her litter box. Pretty much everything else was. Over time, Clara trained Micheal to be her cat-flap; Micheal let her in, let her out, let her in once more. Clara rewarded him by electing to sleep with on his bed every single night, a point not lost on his scurvy brothers.

Life for Micheal and Clara was good, until one summer the circus came to town.

Now it just so happened that Micheal had a birthday, and it so happened that Micheal’s uncle not only managed to get him tickets to the matinee but also to have tea with the clowns at the end of the performance.
The circus!  It was as if Micheal had suddenly been given access to a different, exotic planet. And the clowns…they walked on circus water. Thus the circus world became the stuff of his dreams–waking and sleeping. And his unbridled affection for his pet cat was somewhat diminished.

Each summer, for the next two years, Micheal was besotted by the circus. Nightly, he would find himself hanging around the Carnival in close proximity to the circus tent. So much so that Jocko the Clown befriended him. One night Jocko told him the story of Giovanni the  Juggler, a town urchin who ran away from home and joined a troupe of traveling players [an early Italian version of the circus]. Micheal was enthralled by the idea. Sure beat his boring home life.

 Meanwhile, summer was waning, and the circus was leaving in two days. That night his mother insisted that he eat all of his peas [which he didn’t], so he was sent to bed early without supper. It seemed, on these days, that only Clara, his cat, understood him. That was the tipping point. He hatched a plan to leave home and join the circus the following night. To that end, he packed a small bag–five punts from his piggy bank, a lucky rabbit’s foot,  two granola bars and an apple– and hid it in his bedroom closet. As he was packing he was aware that something else was in his room–he happened to turn around. Clara the cat was watching him, intently. She watched him as he oiled the hinges on his bedroom door.

The following night he went to bed early and ‘slept’ with his clothes on. He was so excited that he hardly noticed Clara’s absence from the foot of his bed. He waited and waited until both his parents were snoring asleep. He got up, tied his shoes around his neck, and reached in the closet for his small bag. Quietly, he opened his bedroom door and tiptoed along the hallway to the top of the stairs. There was a full moon outside, at once quite brilliant and then alternately vanishing behind clouds racing in an indigo sky.
He continued tiptoeing down the stairs. All was going to plan until he reached the turn into the front door foyer. That was when he tripped over something–something that let out a strained mewing sound.

From his supine position on the foyer carpet he looked up into the face of Clara, his cat.
In the moonlight, she stared at him, through him, with indifferent feline eyes, as if to exclaim: ‘Where the hell do you think you are going?’
Micheal smiled a smile of recognition, dusted his small ego off, rubbed Clara’s head, and took himself tiptoeing back upstairs. Clara followed him into his bedroom.
‘So much for the circus,’ Micheal thought to himself as he tucked himself back in bed.  ‘Oh well, there’s always next year….’

But there wasn’t a next year.
Or the following year.
There was no more summer circus.
But there was always Clara, his cat…

*borrowed from the worlds of Jean Piaget

More to Discover