Why is Mia’s life different now than it was a few days ago? Go ask Mia. I think she’ll know. This is her story as she told it to me, her Opa (grandfather). Her Omi (grandmother) had read to her Alice in Wonderland, with both her Omi and her Opa acting out the parts of some of the characters in the book. The story plus the acting out of some of the scenes by her grandparents filled her imagination like last week’s Thanksgiving dinner had filled her stomach. It especially meant something to her as she, like Alice, is seven years old. She had to go into the woods to explore. It wasn’t very far away, or very large, so she was allowed to go there on a Saturday. She had to take her cell phone with her though. It was a little chilly, so she wore her jacket. Good thing that she did, as it turns out.
She sat down on a log beside a river, facing away from the water and towards the trees and the bushes. It wasn’t long before Mia saw a creature that was in the story. She saw a mostly white rabbit, standing right in front of a rabbit hole or burrow beside a very big bush that still had almost all of its leaves. It was one big bunny It didn’t carry a pocket watch, though, like the one in the book. And there was no way Mia was going to try to go into the rabbit hole. She was far too big. And there were no mushrooms around to make her smaller. Besides, it would be very dark and scary down there – not to mention dirty.
The next animal she saw was a mouse, again just like in the story. Being involved with French immersion at school, and doing well in the subject, Mia was tempted to say “Où est ma chatte?" [Where is my cat?] just like Alice did in the story. But she didn’t think that the mouse understood French. Besides, she didn’t want to scare it away. And she didn’t even have a pet cat.
Then, as if she had called to it, Mia saw a cat walking softly towards her. It was rather small, almost kitten size. Before it reached her, the cat scurried off to the left, up a tree and onto a large branch on the right. This was to be the first part of an adventure. For it wasn’t long before Mia heard a shout of intense anger that included the words “damn cat. Wait until I get you home. You’re going to stay all the time in that crate.”
When Mia looked to her left, she saw a woman with a nasty expression on her face that looked as permanent place on it as eyebrows were. In the middle of the woman’s white blouse was a big red heart. That seemed strange to Mia, as the woman seemed heartless.
“You there. Little girl. Did you see a cat go by here?” Although Mia did not like what the woman intended to do with the cat, she still felt that she had to tell the truth. That was the way she was raised.
“The cat’s over there.” She stood up and pointed to the branch with the cat perched upon it. There was no ‘thank you’ from the woman, but Mia did not expect one. The woman just stomped toward the tree. She then bent down to pick up a couple of stones, which she proceeded to throw at the poor cat, narrowly missing it.
The cat was in this way forced to jump out of the tree and start running on the ground. At the same time the nasty woman picked up a stick and ran after the cat. Her intent was clear to Mia.
The cat then went down the rabbit hole, squeezing barely into it. The woman stood above the refuge with her stick held high. The cat seemed well and truly trapped. And there was nothing that Mia could do about it.
But then she remembered something that she had learned in school. Rabbits often have several entrances to their burrows. She had seen that with woodchucks in her backyard. Maybe this was true in this case, and there was another entrance nearby. She walked to the other side of the thick bush. The woman wasn’t paying any attention to her, but despite that Mia tried to look like she was just walking away with no particular place to go.
Yes! On the other side of the bush was another entrance. It gave Mia a small amount of hope for the cat. This hope grew when she saw the big rabbit exit, almost fly out of the other entrance. Mia crossed her fingers and made a wish. It was fast to come true. The cat came out of the other entrance too, but stayed beside it, shaking the dirt off. Mia saw that the woman was still standing as she had been before, threatening the cat with violence, and waving the stick around. But she did not see the cat. Mia casually and slowly bent down and picked up the cat. It seemed to trust her as she was being gentle with the frightened animal. She thought she might have heard a quiet purr. Then Mia put the cat under her jacket. The cat seemed to know that it was safe there, and didn’t try to escape. It was shaking in fear, however.
Mia then slowly walked away. The woman, still shouting, didn’t pay any attention to her. Once Mia was far enough away so that they could not be seen by the shouting, stick-waving woman, she took the cat out of her jacket. The cat looked up at her with what appeared to be trust. And Mia discovered that the cat could smile big, with the expression encompassing its whole face.
Mia’s parents had told her recently that she was old and mature enough now that she could have a pet, maybe a dog, a cat or a bird. So she took the cat home with her. She thought Cheshire would be a good name for her new friend. No, Alice. She went down the rabbit hole after all.
And that’s the story she told me when I asked Mia. I’m not sure about the part with the large heart on the blouse though – very Queen of Hearts.