Pinky: The World Explorer

Two months ago, Pinky ran away for the first time. My five-year old daughter was heartbroken. How could her best friend of over four years just up and leave without any explanation? There was no goodbye note, no hints that the little pink cat was unhappy. One day she was there, and the next she wasn’t. (BTW – we were informed that Pinky, who was originally a HE, was now a SHE… Inconsequential to my tale, but if you, my dear readers, have read any of the back-story, you might have been a tad confused at this disparity.)

It was a trying time in our household; the whole family suffered during Pinky’s absence. Mackenzie was a ticking emotional time bomb, detonated with even the slightest of pressure. The sadness Jameson felt, watching his little sister go through her loss, surged off him in waves. My husband went to the end of the World Wide Web to purchase another ‘Pinky’. My every waking thought was consumed with Pinky’s whereabouts. Did we say something that hurt her, ripping open a painful scab, making light of Pinky’s feelings? Did she feel like she were better off without us? Was she kitty-napped?!

We walked miles and miles, retracing each step, scouring the Earth for the little pink cat. I called every place of business that Pinky might have visited with us. When my calls came up empty, I called them all again. And again. I took to social media in my search, pleading for anyone with information to contact us immediately, posting on every local FaceBook garage sale and gossip site I could think of. There was an outpouring of heartfelt sentiments; total strangers joined us in our search by way of post shares and friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend might have seen a cat like Pinky suggestions.

A week in and still no Pinky, we received a package in the mail: a new “Pinky” from the wonderful world of Amazon.com, where all of your dreams can be purchased with one click of a button. My husband and I were hesitant to produce the gleamingly new cat, however. It seemed as if Kenz was slowly starting to accept her loss and move on. Fluffy Kitty and Orange Kitty were great stand-ins, don’t get me wrong. But could Pinky ever really be replaced?

Before we could present Mackenzie with the stand-in Pinky, a revelation. As I sat gazing at Mackenzie’s porcelain-like face from across the dinner table one night, admiring her week-old haircut, it clicked.

“Kenz, did you take Pinky with you when Daddy took you and James to get your haircuts?” I had to stifle the excitement in my voice.

“Yes, Mama! I did!” Kenzie exclaimed, jumping up and down, finally remembering the last place she had seen her best friend. “I handed her to Daddy when I sat down in the big chair!”

My husband refused to accept any blame. “What? No, I don’t remember Pinky being there.” Slowly, however, Martin sheepishly began to accept responsibility the longer I suggested that it was probably the one place we hadn’t looked. Finally, he succumbed when the nice lady at the Cut N’ Corral replied yes, there was some sort of a stuffed grey, possibly used to be pink, animal in their Lost & Found.  And with that, Mackenzie and Pinky were reunited…

You would think that this would be the happy ending to my little story. But, it’s not.

Two weeks later, Marty pulled the suitcases from the attic and the family began packing for our upcoming trip to Mexico. This would be the first time taking the kids out of the country, and I was anxious, to say the least, ensuring that every little detail was taken care of.  We added a bit more to the suitcases, while checking off items on the mental and handwritten checklists each day that we got closer to our departure…

Someone to watch the animals? Check. The post office holding the mail? Check. First aid kit? Check. Passports? Check. Tablets to keep the kids occupied on the plane? Check. Pinky? Pinky? PINKY?!

She disappeared. Again. The night before we were set to leave for Mexico, Pinky fucking took off. Again.

“I can’t go to Mexico without Piiiinnnnnkkkyyyy,” Mackenzie wailed. She was inconsolable. Fluffy Kitty or Orange Kitty accompanying Mackenzie on our trip wasn’t going to cut it. It was time to bring out the reinforcements.

“Look who came to visit,” Martin prompted, handing a shoebox to Mackenzie. As she wiped away the tears of desolation, Mackenzie peeled back the corners of the little brown box, peered inside, and….

A confused look spread across her face. “Who…?” She questioned. It was true – the two cats looked nothing alike: their fur, different colors, the shape of their bodies, dissimilar. Pinky was naked, unless Kenz decided to dress her up for the day; this cat had a shirt on. Pinky was quiet; this cat declared terms of endearment when gently squeezed, non-stop.  BUT, if one would look close enough, they would be able to see a slight familial resemblance. Most importantly, however, Mackenzie saw the resemblance.

“It’s Pinky’s brother!!!” she exclaimed excitedly, hugging the cat.

“Hooray!!” the rest of the family cheered, my husband and I outwardly relieved that our trip to Mexico would not be ruined by our daughter’s missing security item.

Pinky’s brother was proudly named Pinky Two.  He did a great job of soothing Kenzie to sleep that night, calming her during the early morning wake-up the next day, and reassuring her safety on the flights to Mexico. Still, you could tell that Pinky was wholeheartedly missed.

“Pinky Two is great, but I really wish Pinky could have seen Mexico, Mama,” Kenzie confided in me as I tucked them into bed the first night of our trip. Me too, Kenz. Me too. The loss of Pinky nipped at my heartstrings. I had always envisioned tucking the well-loved cat into Mackenzie’s Memory Box when she no longer needed her comforting. The dreams of my youngest, pulling Pinky out of the Box years later, so she could reminisce of their times together, were slowly fading.

On the third day of our Mexican vacation, Martin and I checked Jameson, Mackenzie, and Pinky Two into the Kids’ Zone, and headed off for a little alone time on our island adventure. A lunch date and a couple’s massage later, we decided to hit the swim up bar for a tasty beverage. We stopped in the room to change into our bathing suits, and made an amazing discovery.

Digging in the pocket of the suitcase for a pair of spare sunglasses, I found a stowaway: Pinky!! Apparently, Mackenzie had been playing hide-and-seek with the little pink cat in the days before we left for Mexico. I guess the pocket of our suitcase was a great hiding spot – Mackenzie never found her.

Mackenzie was ecstatic to find that Pinky had made the trip to Mexico!  Mackenzie immediately snuggled up with Pinky, and after many kisses and whispers between the two, she explained.  Pinky had jumped an earlier flight and was exploring the island of Cancun on her own before meeting up with us at the hotel. Right on, Pinky, right on. Rock on with your bad, independent, world-exploring self.

Now, does anyone know if you can microchip a stuffed cat?

 

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