In Loving Memory Of AJ Harrison
Written by Consta Jenkins
Reprinted by permission of the author
It was a glorious day on the Rainbow Bridge. Well, all days here were glorious, but today the sun seemed to shine a little brighter and the breeze seemed a little sweeter. Eatbugs stretched out a paw and took a deep breath, savoring the smell of the sweet grass and the thousands of tiny flowers that dotted the hills. He closed his eyes and listened to his special song...the love of his humans dancing it's way to him from the Earth and could almost feel the ear scritches.
He opened his eyes as he heard the soft padding of paws approaching him. He smiled and danced his tail in greeting to Isolde and Virginia. They gave him nosey greetings and settled quietly beside him. Isolde turned her nose into the breeze and sighed. Eatbugs looked steadily at her, her beautiful blue eyes seemed focused on something he could not see, and she purred quietly to herself. Eatbugs turned to Virginia and found her wise eyes studying him. "Has thee felt it, Little One?", she asked. "Felt what? The air seems sweeter today...is that what you mean?". "In part, Little One. Today is a special day. There will be another Welcoming, Little One. A very special kidden comes to join us." "Aren't all kiddens special???" he asked. Virginia chuckled, "Of course, Little One. In the eyes of the Creator of all Things, we are all special. Since the Time of the Mists when She twitched her whiskers and set the world in motion, each kidden that has marched their days in the sun is special in her heart. It is for them she made the Great Promise and she swished her tail and made this Bridge, that we might wait in peace. No, the kidden that comes today is special because of the love of our humans".
Isolde blinked herself from her reverie and turned to Eatbugs, "Do you remember, Little One, how the Company began?". "Uh huh, our humans came together to share their love for us". Isolde nodded, "The kidden that comes was among the first...he has been loved long and well by all our humans, and by us. Have you noticed the Song of the Wind is sweeter today?". Eatbugs nodded. "The love that our humans share is strong today. As they hold this special kidden in their hearts, it echos their love for us, for they loved him as surely as they loved us...." She stopped abruptly and turned her face to the Rainbow. Eatbugs felt the familiar tingling in his whiskers..stronger than he'd ever felt it before. "It is time", Isolde said quietly.
The three kiddens rose and padded quietly to the Gate. As they walked the Company gathered yet again to make their welcome. Picnic and Max came silently up beside them. Spunkie and Ebony walked with Creamsickle and Putt Putt. Smokey and Jasmine linked tails as they came. Solemnly they formed their circle and Eatbugs turned to look. There were kiddens everywhere. Katie sat with Pris. Nickie leaned against Grace, who gave him a gentle ear lick. Tinky and Imbri linked tails. Sweetie Greymother sat surrounded by peepers and Puppie sat with bowed head.
The Welcoming Song danced in the wind above them, it's bittersweet refrain magnified by the circles of love, one on the Earth and one on the Bridge. It sang of loss, yes, but it sang, too, of love. It sang of the warmth of a human hand and of a bond that neither time nor distance can destroy. It sang of the warmth of the sun on fur and it sang of the Great Promise. One by one the kiddens lifted their purrs to join the Welcoming Song.
The all too familiar flash of blue light appeared in the Gate and when it had subsided, a tom sat blinking. He was lean and strong, his fur elegantly striped and his eyes sparkling. The Company sat and looked at him for a second. "Who is it?" whispered Eatbugs. Isolde laughed, "Well I must admit that he does look a bit different". She trotted forward and nuzzled the newcomer with great affection, "AJ, my old furriend, welcome to the Rainbow Bridge". AJ looked down at his body and blinked. Virginia smiled, "You are as you were in your youth, old furriend." He looked down again, "Well, I sure hope there's plenty of kibble around here..". Laughter rang through the Company as they stepped forward to make their welcome.
After all noses had been touched, and promises made to show AJ the best sleepy spots (and the kibble bowls), the Company began to disperse. At length, AJ sat surrounded by his oldest furriends. AJ looked around at them and his heart warmed. "I'd like to say goodbye to Mom..." Pris nuzzled his ear and the Company drew closer. The lifted their purrs to the wind and AJ closed his eyes. "I'm all right, Mom. I'm home now. I love you and I'll wait for you. And mom? You won't believe my waggy bag".
And with that, they turned and led their furriend home.
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