In Loving Memory Of Cosmic Bob Nickel
Written by Consta Jenkins
Reprinted by permission of the author
It was morning on the Rainbow Bridge. The sky, which was always a beautiful crystal blue, was painted with the lingering hues of morning's rainbow. Lavendar and pink shadows fell across the Fields. Eatbugs opened one eye and stretched a long and luxurious stretch, the kind that started at his whiskers and ended at his tail. He sat up and washed his whiskers and looked around him. He smiled. Tinky and Imbri were still asleep, curled up in a knot together. Miss Priss was feeding the peepers and Rocky and Katie were enjoying the morning sun. No kidden lacked companionship on the Rainbow Bridge.
Eatbugs rose and danced his tail in greeting to his friends and set off to find some breakfast. He found, as he found every morning, a kibble bowl filled to the brim waiting for him. He settled in for a good snack when a kidden came up beside him. "Um, is this bowl taken?" said the kidden shyly. Eatbugs smiled and gestured for the kidden to share, "There's always room for a friend", he said. The kidden smiled back, "My name is Charlie".
After breakfast, Eatbugs and his new friend strolled together along the Rainbow Fields. Eatbugs introduced Charlie to Mister and Isolde and Charlie introduced his friends SuzieQ and Uncle Butterball. They joined Spunkie and Ebony in a quick game of hide and swipe and then settled down in a patch of sun. Charlie was talking about his home on Earth when Eatbugs stood with a start and turned his whiskers into the wind.
"What is it?" asked Charlie concerned at his friends odd behavior.
Eatbugs looked sadly at his new friend, "Another of us comes" he said in a small voice.
The friends rose and began to make their way to the Gate. Tiny Bubbles came running up to Eatbugs and threw her paws around his necks, "Nos" her sobbed, "Nos, my humans is sads..."
Eatbugs hugged her close and whispered to her, "It will be all right, Bubbles. I promise". Peanut gently took Bubbles and held her close. His eyes were full of sorrow, but he whispered comforting words to his peeper cousin and carried her in his paws to the Gate.
When the kiddens arrived at the Gate the Company had already begun to assemble. There were kiddens of every color and size sitting quietly in a circle. Rocky and Nermal linked tails. Mister and Rainbow stood side by side each with eyes closed and heads bowed. The peepers moved quietly to the center of the circle and began to purr. Eatbugs closed his eyes, another young one comes, he thought and felt a catch in his chest. He felt a nudge on his shoulder and opened his eyes. Virginia and Isolde stood beside him, their wise eyes touched with sorrow.
"Yes, Little One", said Virginia, "Another comes that has known only a tiny march of days in the sun".
"But why?" asked Eatbugs, his voice husky with emotion, "It isn't fair".
Isolde sighed, "Life is not always fair, Little One. It is the way of the world, hard though it is at times. This little one could not stay on Earth. He was too sick. But here he will be whole and healthy. Here he will be loved and cared for until those on Earth who love him are with him again. So it has been since the Creator of All Things set the world in motion. So it will be. The value of our lives is not measured by the number of days we walked in the sun, but in the love we have shared and by that which we are. This little one's time on Earth was brief, but he has left his scent in the heart of his humans. He is loved and that is all that matters."
Eatbugs nodded and tried to understand.
The Welcoming Song had begun to dance in the breeze, it's bittersweet melody touching the heart of everykidden. Swirling softly among the leaves it winded it's way to Earth. The colors of the sky grew more intense, the colors shifting and shimmering. The peepers drew closer together and lifted their voices to join the Welcoming. Their song was heartwrenching and Eatbugs felt a tear fall gently down his cheek. He tried to remember Isolde's words as the familiar blue flash appeared before him. In it's wake there sat a fluffy red peeper. He hunkered down and mewed piteously. Tiny Bubbles leapt from Peanut's arms and ran to him. "Ohs don't cry" she said and threw her paws around him, "No body wills hurts you here, evers!" she said and purred in his ear.
Cosmic Bob blinked and looked at her. She washed his face and continued, "and you cans play chases and hocky and...." Peanut approached quietly and smiled at his peepers, "Welcome Cosmic Bob" he said and nuzzled his ear, "you are home now".
Cosmic Bob looked up at Peanut, "but my mom?".
Peanut's face grew somber but he smiled and said, "We will be together again. I promise." His thoughts turned to his human and his heart was full, "We will wait together". Cosmic Bob stood up and was rewarded with a vigorous head butt from Bubbles. He looked around him at all the kiddens. They quietly came forward and touched nose and welcomed him. Each promised to show him their favorite spots, for sunning, for sleeping, for hockey. The last of Bob's lingering fears were washed away in the warmth of the kiddens. The peepers took him by the paw and led him to his new home. As the Company of kiddens began to disperse, Eatbugs noticed Peanut standing by the Gate. He looked up at Eatbugs, "It's okay. I'll be along in a minute". Eatbugs turned and joined the others. Peanut closed his eyes and pursed his whiskers, "Mom? Can you hear me? Don't cry anymore. He's home now and I promise I will look after him for you. And mom? He can breathenow...." He closed his eyes tight and hoped with all his heart that she could hear him.
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