orange boy stopped. Behind him, kitties were playing, chasing each other and
wrestling in the warm sunshine. It looked like so much fun,but in front of him, through the clear stillness
of the pond's water, he could see his mommy. And she was crying.
He pawed at
the water, trying to get at her, and when that didn't work, he jumped into the shallow
water. All that got him was wet and
Mommy's image danced away in the
ripples. "Mommy!" he cried.
"Is something wrong?"
orange boy turned around. A lady was standing at the
edge of the pond,
her eyes sad but
filled with love.
The little orange
boy sighed and walked out of the water. "There's been a mistake," he said. "I'm not
to be here." He looked back at the water. It was starting to still
again and his mommy's image was coming back. "I'm just a baby. Mommy said it
had to be
a mistake. She said I wasn't supposed to come here yet."
The kind lady
sighed and sat down on the grass. The little orange boy
climbed into her lap. It wasn't Mommy's lap, but it was almost as good. When
started to pet him and scratch under his
chin like he liked, he started to purr. He hadn't wanted to, but he couldn't help it. "I'm afraid there is no mistake. You are supposed to be here
and your mommy knows it deep down in her
heart," the lady said.
orange boy sighed and laid his head on the
lady's leg. "But she's so sad. It hurts me to see her cry. And Daddy too."
"But they knew right from the
beginning this would happen."
"That I was sick?" That surprised the little
orange boy. No one had ever said
anything and he had listened when they
thought he was sleeping. All he
them talk about was how cute he was or how
fast he was or how big he was getting.
"No, not that you were sick," the lady said. "But you see, they chose tears."
"No, they didn't," the little orange boy argued. Who would choose to cry?
gently brushed the top of his head with a
kiss. It made him feel safe and
loved and warm--but he still worried about
his mommy. "Let me tell you a story," the lady said.
orange boy looked up and saw other animals
Cats--Big Boy and Snowball and
Shamus and Abby and little Cleo and Robin. Merlin and Toby and Iggy and
Zachary. Sweetie and Kamatte and Obie.
Dogs too--Sally and Baby and Morgan
and Rocky and Belle. Even a lizard named Clyde
and some rats named Saffron and Becky and a
hamster named Odo. They all lay down near the
kind lady and looked up at her, waiting.
She smiled at
them and began:
A long long
time ago, the Loving Ones went to
the Angel in Charge. They were lonesome and
asked the angel to help them.
took them to a wall of windows and let
them look out the first window at all
sorts of things --dolls and stuffed animals
and cars and toys and sporting events.
"Here are things you can
love," the angel said. "They will keep you from
"Oh, thank you," the Loving Ones said. "These are just what we
"You have chosen Pleasure," the angel told them.
But after a
time the Loving Ones came back to the
Angel in Charge "Things are okay to love,"
they said. "But they don't care that we love them."
The Angel in
Charge led them over to the second window. It looked out at all sorts
of wild animals. "Here are animals to love," he said. "They will know
Loving Ones hurried out to care for the
chosen Satisfaction," the angel said.
Some of the
Loving Ones worked at zoos and wild animal
preserves, some just had bird feeders
in their yards,
but after a
time they all came back to the
"They know we love them," they told the angel. "But they don't love us back. We want to be loved in
So the angel
took them to the third window and showed
them lots of people walking around, hurrying places. "Here are people for you to
love," the angel told them. So the Loving Ones hurried
off to find other people to love. "You have chosen Commitment," the angel said.
But after a
time a lot of Loving Ones came back to the
Angel in Charge. "People were okay to love," they said. "But sometimes they stopped
loving us and left. They broke our hearts."
just shook his head. "I cannot help you," he said. "You will have to be
satisfied with the choices I gave you."
Loving Ones were leaving, someone saw a window off
to one side and hurried to look out.
Through it, they could see puppies and
kittens and dogs and cats and lizards and
hamsters and ferrets. The other Loving Ones
these?" they asked.
angel just tried to shoo them away. "Those are Personal Empathy
Trainers," he said. "Butthere's a problem with their
"Would they know that we
love them?" someone asked.
"Yes," the angel said.
"Would they love us back?" another asked.
"Yes," the angel said.
"Will they stop loving us?" someone else asked.
"No," the angel admitted. "They will love you forever."
"Then these are what we
want," the Loving Ones said.
angel was very upset. "You don't understand," he told them. "You will have to feed
"That's all right," the Loving Ones said.
"You will have to clean up
after them and take care of them forever."
"We don't care."
Ones did not listen. They went down to where
the Pets were and picked them up, seeing the love in their
own hearts reflected in the animals' eyes.
"They were not programmed
right," the angel said. "We can't offer a warranty. We don't know how durable they
are. Some of their systems
malfunction very quickly, others last a long time."
Loving Ones did not care. They were holding the warm
little bodies and finding their hearts so
filled with love that they thought they
burst. "We will take our chances," they said.
"You do not understand." The angel tried one more
time. "They are so dependent on
you that even the most well-made of them is not
designed to outlive you. You are destined to suffer
Ones looked at the sweetness in their arms
and nodded. "That is how it should be. It is a fair trade for the
love they offer."
just watched them all go, shaking his head. "You have chosen Tears," he whispered.
"So it is," the kind lady told the
kitties. "And so each mommy and
When they take
a baby into their heart, they know that one day it
leave them and they will cry."
orange boy sat up. "So why do they take us in?" he asked.
"Because even a moment of
your love is worth years of pain later."
"Oh." The little orange boy got
off the lady's lap and went back to the
edge of the pond. His mommy was still there, and still crying. "Will she ever stop crying?" he asked the kind lady.
She nodded. "You see, the Angel felt sorry for
the Loving Ones, knowing how much they
He couldn't take the tears away but
he made them special."
her hand into the pond and let the water
trickle off her fingers. "He made them healing tears, formed from the special
water here. Each tear
bits of all the happy times of purring and
petting and shared love. And the promise of love
once again. As your mommy cries, she is healing.
"In time, she will be less sad and
she will smile when she thinks of you.And then she will open her
heart again to another little baby."
"But then she will cry
again one day,"
orange boy said.
just smiled at him as she got to her feet. "No, she will love again. That is all she will think
about." She picked up Big Boy and
them hugs, then scratched Morgan's ear just how she liked.
"Look," she said. "The butterflies have come. Shall we go over to play?"
animals all ran ahead, but the little orange boy
wasn't ready to leave his mommy. "Will I ever get to be with
"You'll be in the eyes of every
kitty she looks at. You'll be in the purr of every
cat she pets.
And late at
night, when she's fast asleep, your spirit will snuggle
up close to her and you both will feel at
peace. One day soon, you can even send her a
rainbow to tell her you're safe and waiting here
for when it's her turn to come."
"I would like that," the little orange boy said
and took one long look at his mommy. He saw her smile slightly
through her tears and he knew she had
the time he almost fell into the bathtub.
"I love you, Mommy," he whispered. "It's okay if you cry." He glanced over at the
others, running and playing and
laughing with the butterflies. "Uh,
Mommy? I gotta go play now, okay? But I'll be around, I promise."
turned and raced after the others.