Tonks Talk by Gary Starta | www.garystarta.net
Curiosity, inquisitiveness. The very nature of any cat. But one cat in particular - the Tonkinese kitten named Twinkles - let her nature guide her as if it were a leash. By day, by night. Even when she slept.
Twinkles had to wonder, where did she come from? And more importantly where did her parents come from, especially her grandparents and great, great grandparents? There had to be some beginning or her lineage. But she couldn't very well get on a computer to do a genealogy search. She asked her brothers and sisters. Her cousins and uncles. Even her temperamental aunt, Abigail, about this mystery. She always received the same pat answer. We were bred into being from two other species of cat - the Burmese and the Siamese. A part of Twinkles wanted to accept this answer. Her family wouldn't lie to her. But another part of her hungered for another answer. An answer that explained why she was so curious, why she was so inquisitive and why she instinctively preferred to cuddle with other cats than sleep alone.
The curiosity had nagged at her, from the time she was young kitten, barely able to walk a straight line. Now she was nearly full-grown. She believed there was a greater truth. She had heard her human owners tell their children stories, some which turned out not to be true, at all, some which could not be verified as truth or falsehood because no proof or evidence existed to confirm or deny the story one way or the other. She heard her owner talking to her son one day. The mother said to her son that some people instinctively believed things through faith.
She thought long and hard, as she purred away the afternoons on her favorite heated bed, on her favorite window perch, which overlooked a wonderful flowerbed.
She made it a point to while away the afternoons in this fashion, every day, for one week straight. She believed people had no exclusive right to imagination, faith or doubt. Any animal, any cat might entertain the very same notions.
One day she fell sound asleep. A faint chirping sound of a bird was the last thing she heard as her head nestled against a tiny embroidered pillow. The same pillow her aunt Abigail loved the most. She snuck it out of Abigail's room every afternoon when Abigail drifted off to dream.
Now it was Twinkles turn to dream...
She found herself lying down, looking up a great, vast expanse of sky. Stars were everywhere. She felt very small in this great big universe. But she didn't feel alone. She knew others were out there.
She twisted her body to obtain maximum comfort. Any Tonk in this position would do the same. But she found herself nestling against something which crackled. Something too light to be a pillow. Startled, she jumped up. She twirled around the diamond shaped objects. They danced around her as in caught in a vortex. They smelt like the leaves, which blew up against the house every fall. But where was her pillow? Where was she?
She could no sense other person, animal or bird in close proximity. So she began to wander through a forest. She needed to find her home. Many miles later, she passed through the woods into a clearing. She sensed something was there. She cried out.
A solid blue colored cat approached her. They smelled each other and told their story. His name was Clover. Each remembered going to bed in their homes, but waking up here- whatever 'here 'was. The blue had been eager to find her true origins as well it seemed. He wagged his tail in excitement when Twinkles shared her passion.
Although they were both frightened to find themselves lost in a strange place, each took time to drink in their surroundings. Across the meadow, a clear stream ran between two majestic mountains. They wandered across the field and spied a great bird circling the twin peaks.
They heard a cat cry. On a far away ledge, a champagne cat pranced. She invited Twinkles and Clover to join her. "It's wondrous," she cried.
Twinkles and Clover wasted no time asking how they could traverse such a distance. They simply bounced along some stones protruding out of the great stream until they reached one of the mountains sides. They took great joy in jumping, climbing and leaping up the mountain's steep slope. Neither felt very tired when they had reached the top. They had made a game out of it.
The champagne cat introduced herself as Windy. She too had woken up from a dream. She found herself on this ledge. Her initial concerns faded away as she drunk in the great serene beauty of her perch. She could see for miles. But to her knowledge, she had seen on other living thing save the eagle like creature circling the peaks.
Twinkles and Clover agreed the view was breathtaking. The clean air put them all fast asleep. When they awoke, they were all still hanging out on the most magnificent precipice of stone they could ever imagine. The next morning they would scale down the mountain. Each felt an urge to travel this wondrous new land. To see all it offered.
By mid-morning of the next day, they had traveled far from the mountain, the stream and the meadow. They rounded a bend to find a massive lake lying before them. A gentle breeze blew off of it. Crystalline waves lapped against the shore. Their eyes scanned the horizon. Their noses sensed company. Smoke from a distant fire drifted into the sky.
They followed the smoke for a long while. The vast lake appeared to stroll along with them. It seemed to continue forever. Lost in thought, they did not see the natural mink Tonk hiding in a lakeside tree. He sniffed the air, determining the travelers had experienced the same fate as him. He already knew their stories before they told them. He had awakened on the lakeshore under a starry sky. The cold breeze from the lake made him a shiver a bit so he had gathered kindling to make a fire. The three Tonks all competed to ask the cat, named Flame, how he could build such a thing. They all knew if they observed him doing it, they would soon be able to build a fire of their own. But before he could explain, the hawk like bird from the mountains appeared before them.
"I am glad you have enjoyed your stay here. Many young Tonkinese kittens come here in dreams to wander, play and gain a better understanding of what it means to be a Tonkinese."
"You mean there's others here?" Twinkles asked.
"Not right now. They come here for a short spell and leave. It's a journey all Tonkinese must take. Their curiosity wills them here. But soon they find they must continue their quest, to find other amusements, other cats and even people to share their lives with."
"So is there where we come from?" Twinkles asked, his eyes sparkling with wonder.
"It is not clear. But once upon a time this planet was entirely populated by Tonks like yourselves. I exist here as a guide. I let the cats fulfill their curiosities here before sending them to their true destinations."
"But why would anyone leave?" Clover inquired.
The bird answered his question cryptically.
"For the very same reason you left wherever you came from. I have found through millennia that the Tonks all succumb to their curious nature, no matter how beautiful their surroundings are. They must experience new things from time to time. Make contact with new friends. They are a social animal by nature."
Before the cats could ask another question. They all experienced a great urge to sleep. Their eyelids grew too heavy to keep open.
When they awoke, all four of Tonks were back in their familiar surroundings. Each snug in their beds, surrounded by family, both human and feline. The journey had raised more questions than answers for each. Twinkles had to wonder if Planet Tonk really existed. Was it a dream? Had all Tonks ventured to Earth from this beautiful land? She also had to wonder if they had created this land. She yawned and stretched her legs. Food for thought, she thought. Her owner had put out a plate of salmon She hurried to the plate and eagerly began to devour it. The owner playfully joked, "Looks like you've been on a journey."
Twinkles though, between bites of food, that the journey for her and all Tonkinese cats is a never-ending one.