Every Christmas I would ask Santa for a little white kitten. And every Christmas morning I would tear through my stocking, find a Barbie or a magic nursery baby that could pee itself, and stare at my mother with anger.
Mom: Look, honey! A magic nursery baby that pees itself!
4-year-old ThePeach: Where is my kitten.
Mom: And when you dissolve its diaper in water, a birth certificate appears that tells you whether the baby is a boy or a girl!
4-year-old ThePeach: I ask you again. Where is my kitten.
Mom: The magic nursery baby loves you.
4-year-old ThePeach: *whips baby at wall* WHERE IS MY KITTEN!!!???
The kitten never came. Or if it did I never found it, and its bones are still curled up in the toe of my felt Christmas stocking.
TigerCat followed suit and wanted a baby animal of her own, too. She tended to copy my every move for the first ten years of her life, before I started down my path of destruction and she wisely made her own way in the world before she wound up licking hobos and eating craisin curry. But for a while, there, she was my little copycat, but with subtle enough differences that she maintained a semblance of independence. I had a little mermaid backpack in pink. She had one in blue. I had a ginger cabbage patch kid named Anne-Marie. She had a black cabbage patch kid name Amika-Jo. I had a pink princess bike with fat white tires. TigerCat was afraid of bikes but would perch on the cross-bar, clutch my torso with her stubby little child fingers, and scream that she hated me as I rode her to the park (which she was also afraid of. Severe “man in the white van” anxiety, that one.)
So, of course, TigerCat wanted a puppy.
When I was five, Santa left me a stuffed animal. A white kitten. I scoffed at it.
Mom: Look, honey! A super special stuffed kitten!
5-year-old ThePeach: Where is my kitten.
Mom: Feel how furry he is!
5-year-old ThePeach: I ask you again. Where is my kitten.
Mom: This kitten will live forever!
5-year-old ThePeach: *whips stuffed animal at wall* WHERE IS MY KITTEN???!!!
But eventually I felt sorry for the stuffed creature. I eyeballed it lying crumpled against the wall. I snuck over to pet it – once – while my mother basted the turkey. I tapped its plastic eyeball. “Stupid cat,” I whispered. “Go back to Santa.”
“HE DOESN’T LIKE YOU!” I’d yell. “HE’S A STRAY AND HE’S SCARED OF EVERYONE BUT ME!”
TigerCat and I argue over how her counter-part, Fluffy Puppy, joined the family. Was it the same Christmas? Was it a gift from our Nana when TigerCat hit her head on the coffee table and wouldn’t stop crying? Is that the stuffed animal our Mom bought her when TigerCat and I took our first joint swimming lesson, I had to scoop her confused body off the bottom of the pool because she didn’t understand the concept of floating, and she failed “yellow”? We can’t agree which of these it might have been. All we know is that, around the same time that Fluffer entered our lives, Fluffy Puppy made his appearance.
Fluffer and Fluffy Puppy were best friends. They shared a fort in our grandpa’s basement. They had matching snowsuits for when we took them outside. They napped together. And, for our entire childhoods, these stuffed animals came with us everywhere we went. Seriously. We were inseparable. And this lasted far longer than either of us would care to share. I still slept with Fluffer in undergrad. Every night. Even the sexy nights. TigerCat was the same. We went to Cuba when we were in undergrad. I was probably 21 and she was 18. We were unpacking our suitcases, probably already drunk off pina coladas, and we both pulled out our respective creatures. I think some of our…um...patheticness…can be explained by our lack of parental stability. But still. 21 years old. Cuba. Fluffer.
I still have Fluffer, but now he lives under my bed. He looks like he’s been through Auschwitz. His eyes are scratched out, his tail is only semi-attached, and most of his fur is gone. What is left is grey. Fluffy puppy lives under TigerCat’s bed, too, in a similar state of destruction.
Yesterday, TigerCat and I were talking. She’s been feeling a little down and she decided she wants a puppy. A cockapoo, to be exact. She’s even looked up local breeders and picked out the one she wants. She sent me a picture.
It is Fluffy Puppy.
The curly brown hair, the pokey little tail, the dangly puppy ears. This dog is the exact replica of TigerCat’s childhood creature. You know, pre-Auschwitz. My sister didn’t even realize the similarities until my mother pointed them out.
It doesn’t take a Psychiatrist to analyze this gem. My sister is feeling down and she wants to cuddle the puppy of her childhood! We laughed for a long time when we realized the connection.
ThePeach: HAHAHA OH MY GOD!
TigerCat: HAHAHA WOW!
ThePeach: HAHAHA YOU’RE SAD AND YOU WANT FLUFFY PUPPY! YOU’RE REGRESSING INTO CHILDHOOD!!
TigerCat: I KNOW! THIS IS HILARIOUS AND YOU SHOULD BLOG ABOUT IT!!
ThePeach: HAHA OH I WILL! AND I…heh…I…also have a live cat now. Which I got that time FauxHawk and I broke up and I was sad.
TigerCat: HAHA OH…man…we are kind of loserish.
TigerCat: *cough* Maybe this is too pathetic for your blog.
Or not. At least we have each other?