Updated: Aug 2, 2021
“ One day I realized I had left my Goldie at Marine Midland Bank, when my mother and I had stopped to cash my dad’s check, and cried most of the night worrying he might never return. "
As a four year old, I was obsessed with a big, yellow and white striped cat named Goldie, who patrolled our street from his home base under the porch of our neighbors, the Eltz’s. I would sit at our window and watch for him, or go to the gate of the front porch and call for him, hoping to catch a glimpse of the beast as he went yard to yard hunting for mice. My dad hated cats, so I only knew them from cartoons and the pretend one that sat on my dresser, which I had named Goldie in honor of my friend. I had thought that the real Goldie would be just as cuddly until one day I made a mad dash across our front yard to finally grab him and he swiped his claws across my face in self-defense. I screamed for an hour, not because of the welts on my cheeks, but because I felt rejected. My mother explained that I had scared him and that’s what you get. In other words, it was my fault. I felt terrible about it and, too scared now of the real Goldie, gave everything I had in love and affection to the fake one, holding it all day and night, rarely putting it down. One day I realized I had left my Goldie at Marine Midland Bank, when my mother and I had stopped to cash my dad’s check, and cried most of the night worrying he might never return. My mother called the bank, so everyone knew about the impending reunion, and when I entered the front door, all the tellers clapped until the manager put him back into my arms. Soon, poor, fake Goldie’s felt eyes, ears and mouth had been loved to pieces. Even his tail came unhinged. My mother, unable to pry the cat from my arms, could only think of one thing: plastic surgery. One night, while I was asleep, Goldie went under the needle and through the sewing machine, emerging a brand new cat. The problem was that the only materials my mother could find were from a grey chair she had upholstered and some colored thread. So Goldie came out of recovery with the skin of a cheap, dark footstool and tiny little features where his lush fur and button eyes had been. His ears stuck through the new construction, chewed a bit but still flapping, and his tail was a sausage shape that barely bent at all. I awoke to my mother holding Goldie over my face. “Somebody wants a good morning kiss!” my mother chirped, and I grabbed new Goldie and pulled him under the covers.