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Meeting a Friend

“Grandpa, who is this!?” Belaya, frightened, clutched her little hands in her white, hooded robe and clung to her grandfather for safety. “Silly. Do not be afraid! I have found a friend for you.” He patted her cheek affectionately. “What is a…friend?” Belaya’s eyes lit up with interest. She detached herself and squatted down in front of the kitten who was sniffing around, getting used to his new surroundings. “A friend is someone who will always be there. The one who will never betray, nor criticize you. He will be with you in times of joy and sadness. Someone with whom you share experiences, thoughts, feelings, and dreams.” “Really?” Belaya asked doubtfully. “Yes, my Dear.” The grandfather continued. “There are many things in the world that surprise and delight me. Friendship is one of these. Because it is based on trust.” Belaya, spellbound, listened to her grandfather without taking her eyes off the orange ball of fur. Calm now, the kitten sprawled in the grass and held his back leg straight up in the air and began to lick it. “Ha ha!” Belaya could not resist and laughed. “How funny! What is he doing, Grandfather?” The grandfather looked at Belaya with tenderness. “Cats are amazingly clean; he is washing himself. He wants to please you and look his best for you.” “Really?” Belaya hastily shook off her hood, adjusted it smartly, and, just in case, blew away an invisible speck of dust from her palms. “Then I will put myself in order too, because I also want to please him!” The grandfather unable to resist, burst out laughing. My Belaya is a wonder, he thought. “Go on already, get acquainted!” He hastened his granddaughter and watched with interest. Little Belaya cautiously reached her hand out. The kitten jumped up, stared at her in disbelief, fell on his front paws and immediately leaned forward to sniff the child’s hand. Belaya froze with excitement. The kitten snorted humorously, jumped in place and playfully touched the girl’s palm with his paw. “Grandpa, does he like me?” whispered Belaya. “Of course! I was sure he would.” The grandfather sat down next to her and put his hand on her shoulder. “Oh! Thank you for finding a friend for me!” Belaya jumped up, hugged her grandfather by the neck and kissed him on the cheek. “I love you so much, Grandpa”, she whispered in his ear. “Very good, very good, Dragonfly. Now run! Play with your friend!” The grandfather was confused. His chest, where the heart should have been, felt pleasantly warm. The child rushed to the kitten, but then came back. “Grandfather, what is his name?” “I don’t know…think of a name for him yourself” the grandfather said and shrugged his shoulders. “Hmm...” Belaya thought. “What if …I know! I will call him Keeper!” She clapped her hands in delight. “Why Keeper?” The grandfather was bewildered. “Well, of course! You said yourself that he will always be there. He will protect and support me, and I will be able to share my thoughts, feelings, and dreams with him. He is my Guardian, so…Keeper.” Belaya, embarrassed, kicked the grass with her foot. “So be it! Let there be a Keeper.” He once again marveled at the intelligence of his granddaughter. Belaya picked up the kitten in her arms and whirled around the field with him. “You are my best friend –Keeper!”, she sang happily, smiling. The grandfather looked after the couple astonished. In the place where the granddaughter walked, the world blossomed with bright colors. The grass turned green, flowers bloomed, even a weak sunbeam suddenly broke through the dense clouds and gilded everything around. He heard birds singing and the chattering of insects. “Whoa,” the grandfather scratched his head. He stretched out on the ground, putting his hand under his head, thrust a long blade of grass into his mouth and closed his eyes with pleasure, listening to long forgotten sounds... © Adalinda

Sergei Zagarovsky


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