Cats Do Go To Heaven
by Lori Noreika
I stood behind my friend's garage biting my nails in anticipation of my mother's wail, "Susan, stop hiding behind that garage and get to school." How she always knew I was behind that massive structure, halfway down the street I will never know.
Shoulders slumped, and tears forming in my eyes, I reluctantly traipsed down the hill, knowing that ugly brick building, where they stored children for most of the day, was just a short distance to my inevitable despair.
My only friend throughout the duration of school was my imagination, and we became great allies. One day, during our mandatory afternoon nap I was unusually still and lacking mischief. Sister Reginald was so surprised with my behavior that I became the student of the day.
"Susan, you may clap the erasers today," Sister said with her quirky smile, and smug demeanor.
I could not believe her words, and all the rest of the children stared at me in awe. Never had I been chosen for anything, let alone such a grandiose undertaking. Since clapping the chalky erasers was such privilege, I could never understand why all the children that were favored with such an honor went outside to perform such a magnificent duty.
I had made up my mind; my eraser clapping would be an event for all to see. I stood in front of the room, watching all the children's questioning faces. A tremendous "smacking" sound filtered through the room, as my eraser clasped hands met one another, and the dust flailed into the air.
Sister Reginald with her mouth agape, coughing from the powder, grabbed my ear and placed me in the corner of the room for the rest of the day, as the children snickered in their seats.
One moment I was the star of first grade, and the next, a chump standing in the corner of a classroom. Oh, but that turned out to be the "lesser of my sinful deeds" and caused my mother's many visits with my teachers after school.
As I entered second grade, even though my teachers wanted to hold me back, so I could learn the proper rules of first grade all over again. I made it my mission to become the child no teacher would ever want in their classroom.
It was a sunny, warm day as Sister Bernard walked up to me on the playground, and asked me why I was standing alone starring up at the striking, cloudless blue sky.
"I'm wondering why I can't see all the animals up in heaven? You see, my mother told me that all animals go to heaven after my favorite cat, Ming, passed away." I replied sadly.
"They most certainly do not; animals have no souls so they cannot possibly go to heaven." Sister Bernard snapped with a growl that made me feel like the earth would open up and swallow me whole.
"Oh yes they do, I snapped back. My mom doesn't lie."
By this time, the Principal's office was becoming a second home to me. As my mother stormed in, this time, I was not the target of her venom.
"Who told my daughter that animals don't go to heaven? Of course they do, and don't you ever tell her differently again."
The Principal's face went pale, as we marched out of her office. I was never so proud of my mother that day, and I had finally understood where my "sometimes" unruly attitude came from.
My sister had been wrong all along-I was not adopted; She always told me I was not like anyone in the family-today was the day I finally saw my family resemblance.
Psychoanalyzing myself, now that I am older, I believe I was simply bored with all the "hands in your lap, heads facing forward, don't speak until you are spoken to." It's a wonder I ever made it through the Army as an adult.
I guess it just goes to show that sometimes there is a little devil in all of us, even if we are brought up by those Angelic Nuns in Catholic Schools.