You see that back door? It’s got a hole in it for a cat door. That was for Old Nanny Higginbotham’s cat. As you can see, she doesn’t live there anymore – Old Nanny Higginbotham – she moved out when the house half burned down and was bulldozed except for the kitchen and backdoor. I have no idea why they didn’t finish the job.
The cat’s dead, one suspects.
No one can remember when and why they started calling her Old Nanny Higginbotham. It began maybe fifty years ago when she was neither old nor a grandmother. She must be well into her eighties now. She called her cat Mopsie.
Mopsie was a tabby cat. It seems like it was always part of Old Nanny Higginbotham’s life although cats don’t live that long; fifteen years or so if you’re lucky. That cat was the only friend the old lady had. She seemed to have no family. Neighbours regarded her as cold and aloof. She wasn’t born for friendship that’s for sure; unless you’re thinking of her Mopsie. Mopsie certainly was her life.
The old lady milked a few goats. That might be why she was called Nanny. Even in her eighties she was out there milking her little herd. The goats were taken away after the fire, and Old Nanny Higginbotham was put into a retirement village. She didn’t want to leave her goats and farm of course, but the government welfare agency insisted. The retirement village wouldn’t let her bring the cat.
One afternoon (it was quite against the retirement village’s rules and regulations) Old Nanny Higginbotham took a taxi to her old bulldozed house. She called over and over: “Here kitty kitty kitty! Here pussy cat! Mopsie! Mopsie!” There was no answer. She put some cat food next to where the cat door had been. “Here kitty kitty kitty! Mopsie! Mopsie!”
Hours later, when it was dark, they found her still sitting on the backdoor step. Crying.