by Luisa Gerstein
When I turned fifteen my mum got me a shoebox. She put it on the kitchen table, and ushered in my entire family before I was allowed to open it. I thought this was strange as I hadn’t asked for trainers (a Fila box it was I think), I didn’t even like trainers, especially not new ones, but I made a little gasp nonetheless and stepped forwards whilst they all watched, braced.
To my surprise there were not two shiny white trainers, but four shiny eyes, two pairs of ears, and lots of whiskers – so I made a much bigger gasp, a scream in fact, and jumped around a lot whilst they tried to make themselves as small as you can get, if you’re one of two kittens in a shoebox.
I know you’re not meant to have favourites, but Lily (left), chose me more or less. She followed me everywhere, was always by the door when I got home, always slept on my bed, her bed, and brought me gifts which she faithfully left on my bedroom floor, even though I told her I didn’t want them. Tiger (right) wasn’t too interested. He rarely ventured out of the kitchen, except to go on holiday every so often for days at a time, returning plump and proud – we think he found a sausage factory.
Lily on the other hand never went on holiday, so when she disappeared one day about a year ago I got very worried. She never came back and I’ll never know what happened, but if cats get nine lives, can them sometimes reappear in the bodies of their siblings? Sort of? Now when I go home, Tiger goes mental ’til I let him sit on my lap. He follows me everywhere, he sits and talks to me when I take a bath, sleeps on my bed, and when I took him for a holiday to my new home, he made sure to bring me a little gift before he left – what a man.