Of course when I told Myro this, she didn't believe me, burst into laughter and insulted me by calling me dumb and crazy.
"I'm not crazy and dumb." I told her. "I know it sounds crazy and dumb, but I'm telling you, when I left your owner this morning, he was a baby."
"Right and how is that possible you suppose?" Myro asked. "I may not know much on a human's growth, but I know they don't grow up that fast!"
"I know. I don't get it. It's all so strange to me. It doesn't make sense."
"Ok, buddy." Kun said, coming up to us. "Are you ready for the vet?" I looked at him and whined. I hate the vet, but I'm still in too much pain to try to escape.
Kun took me back into the car after we left the vet. He didn't drive off. He just stared into the outside. I looked outside too. What is he looking at? A squirrel? A bird? A fire hydrant? A postman with two heads? But it turned out that it was nothing. I looked back at him, confused. Are we going or what?
He finally looked my way, smiled and petted me. "I don't know why." He said. "But I think I'm going to keep you. I think you were meant to be my dog. I can't imagine you going to the pound or a shelter. Yeah, that is what I'll do. I'll keep you." He then drove off.
After a short visit to the vet, Kun drove me all the way back to his house. I don't know why, but I was happy to be back. I felt like I belonged here. I felt like this Kun would treat me better because it's just him and Myro and a cat isn't the same thing as a little human. But as soon as Kun gets a little human of his own, I'm moving out. I pray that never happens though.
"Are you staying here, dog?" Myro asked me as soon as Kun let me down.
"Looks like it." I told her. "Why? You got a problem with that? Think I'll get all of the attention and your owner will make you feel invisible?" She scoffed.
"No, but just know this, I was here first. My human will always be my human."
"Whatever you say, cat."
"Kako." Kun said to me some time later, referring to my new name. It would take getting used to, that new name. At least I'm not Number 7 again. "How will you like to meet my parents and my little sister?" I just looked at him. I'm just going to agree and be happy to whatever you say, Kun. He smiled. "Because they're coming over. I hope you like them. I know they'll like you. Well, I better get ready." He left.I looked at Myro.
"Do you know what he said, Myro?"
"How the heck should I know?" She questioned. "I'm as lost as you are."
"Huh, that's funny. I thought you were smart. You said cats were smarter than dogs.." She took great offense to this,
"That's because we are. Just because we don't get something, doesn't make us not smart. We can still be smart and not know things. There's a difference between being just plain dumb and being naive."
"Okay, well, no one asked. And by the way, the same thing goes for dogs and all living things on this planet."
Later, I heard a ringing sound and barked. I kept barking.
"Why are you barking, dog?" Myro wanted to know. I just looked at her.
"Isn't it obvious?" I asked her. "Didn't you hear that ringing right now?"
"Aw, yes. That means at least one human is at the door and waiting to be let in."
"Exactly. I'm warning Kun with my barks."
"Warning him of what?"
"Warning him of the possible danger. You never know who or what is behind that door. I'm just protecting him is all and being a loyal dog. Haven't you done that? Meowed to let your owner know that humans are outside?"
"No, because cats don't do that. That's ridiculous."
"Well, you should. You might be helping out." She rolled her eyes again as I kept barking over the ringing. Kun then passed by us and shushed me.
"Shhh, Kako." He said to me. "I appreciate you telling me someone's at the door. I hear it too. But you don't have to anymore; I got it." I ceased my barking as Kun went towards the door.
"Why'd you stop barking?" Myro questioned. "Aren't you going to attack them the moment Kun answers the door?"
"But whoever's out there may be bad news. I thought you wanted to be loyal and protective of him."
"I am, but I also know whoever's out there could be friendly and is a dog lover. You can't always assume these kind of things, Myro."
"I don't always get you, dog."
"The same goes for you, cat."
"Hmmmm, well played."
"Thanks, I guess?"
Just then the door opened. I ran over to see who it was. It was a young woman. She and my owner exchanged a hug. She then looked at me.
"And this must be Kako." She said.
"Yup!" Kun answered. "The one and only. Say Mirai, where's Mom and Dad?" Just as he asked that, two more people came in. I cocked my head as they greeted and hugged Kun. They seemed familiar. I then remembered. These two are the parents. They are Kumiko and Gen and the young woman was Kun's sister, Mirai! I couldn't believe it. I just saw their pictures and now they are all here in Kun's house! I barked to get their attention. Kumiko, Gen, it's me Ka...I mean, Yukko! The parents looked at me as I wagged my tail. They see me, but do they recognize me? They both smiled and the mom bent down to pet me.
"You're right, Kun." Kumiko observed. "Kako does look like Yukko."
"And he barks whenever the doorbell rings like Yukko did." Gen added. "Remember, honey?"
"Yes, I remember, but I feel that is what most dogs do whenever people are at the door."
"You're right about that."
"I wished I had a chance to meet him." Mirai said. "Yukko seemed like a good dog."
"That he was." Her mother agreed. "It's a shame he ran away. I wonder why."
"The man who gave Yukko to me would've probably said that he was jealous." Gen put in.
"Dad, that's just silly." Mirai said to him.
"Well, we were spending a lot of time with your brother after he was born and less time with Yukko. But yeah, you're right, it's just plain silly even though it makes sense." They're talking about me! They used my old name. They remember who I am!
"I remember being extremely jealous after Mirai was born." Kun spoke.
"Yes, you were a naughty boy." Kumiko said. "Always having temper tantrums, not putting you toys away when asked. You even hit your sister with your train."
"Man, I was a nightmare."
"Well, you were four."
"Yeah, but still! I still feel bad that you guys had to suffer because of me."
"Yeah, but we wouldn't trade it for the world."
"And looked how you two turned out!" Gen added. "Having to put up with two children is well worth it after seeing what became of it. I say your Mom and I ended up as good parents. Remember this when you have children, Kun. You too, Mirai. As kids, they might be total nightmares at times. You want to scream and pull your hair out, but they grow and you love them just the same."
"While I like that we are communicating." Kumiko began. "I think we better do it in the kitchen. I brought onigiri for all of us to share." Kun smacked his lips.
"Yum, onigiri! Mom, you know how to satisfy my tummy!" Kumiko smiled.
"Although you're grown, Kun, I can always count on my onigiri to take me back to my little boy."
"What about me, Mom?" Mirai asked. "I like things too."
"Yes, Mirai. We all do."
"I remember whenever we weren't looking," Gen started. "Kun, you would feed Yukko rice and rice balls, remember? Until Grandma caught you in the act one day."
"Oh yeah." Kun remembered. "In my young mind back then, I was thinking 'if I like these rice and rice balls, Yukko might too.'" I smacked my lips this time. Mmmm, rice and rice balls! Kun always knew what to give me besides my everyday dry dog food even if it meant sneaking me them in secret from his parents.
"Hey!" Kumiko spoke up, "What happened to waiting to talk until we're all settled in and over onigiri?" Gen laughed nervously as he rubbed his head.
"Oh, yes. Silly me. Your mother's right. Let's settle in and then talk over origiri." The kids agreed and went off to the kitchen. I went after them, but not before talking to Myro.
"Did you see that Myro?" I asked her. "They said the name 'Yukko.' They know who I am."
"Don't get too excited yet," Myro told me. "You don't know that. "They might have had been talking about a dog that looked like you like their old dog they had or a neigbor's dog or something. Why anyone would want a dog is beyond me, but that's humans for you I guess."
"You're just jealous that they didn't say 'Myro'."
"No, I'm not. But you can think of whatever you want. I honestly don't care,"
"Good. Because I don't care what you think either."
I went to the kitchen where they were all sitting around a table. Kumiko put out her container of rice balls after she went back to sit at the table after putting them in a box container machine and my owner and his family picked them out one by one. I went to my owner, and whined at him, pawing at his leg in hopes that he would give me some.
"What are you doing?" Myro asked me. I looked at her.
"What does it look like? I'm begging for food."
"Why? You have plenty in your dog bowl."
"But I want human food."
"Because I happen to like it. Haven't you ever begged Kun for food before?"
"No. Never. Why would I? That's rude. It's their food, not yours. I have food too. Good food, mind you. I rather have that and not beg. It's unbecoming."
"Okay, but you cats don't know what you're missing out on." I looked at Kun again and whined. He looked down at me with a frown.
"I'm sorry, Kako." He apologized. "My parents are here." I whined again. "I'm torn at what I should do." But I was persistent. "Oh, Kako."
"You can give him a peace of yours." Kumiko told her son. Kun looked at her.
"Really, Mom? I can?" The mother nodded.
"Yeah. It's fine. It's heated rice. As long as it's one bit of rice, it's safe." Kun smiled and looked at me.
"It's your lucky day, Kako." He ripped off a piece and gave it to me to gobble up. "Enjoy." I looked at Myro.
"Are you going to try some? It's really good. Don't be shy."
"No, thanks." She just said. "I'm good." I looked at Kun again.
"Sorry, Kako." He apologized. "That's all I can give you for now." I waited some more. When he didn't give me anymore, I gave up and went to the next person. They didn't give me food either so I gave up altogether.
The whole time that they were here, I tried to tell them who I am. It was driving me crazy that they didn't and couldn't understand. I knew who they were, yet they didn't know who I was? It is really frustrating! But no matter how much I tried, I didn't give up. The time flew by and before I knew it, it was time for them to go.
"Well, thanks for stopping by Mom, Dad and Mirai." Kun said to them. "I really appreciate it."
"Sure, little brother." Mirai stated. "Thank you for being a huge distraction from my studies. Going to university takes a lot out of you. Makes you wish that we were still young, naive and innocent. Life was so simple back then. Not having the same worries as Mom and Dad. Adult life sucks."
"Adult life can be good at times." Kumiko reminded her. "It's going to get harder as time goes on."
"Not to mention your body starts to slow down." Gen puts in. "In a few years, your mother and I are not going to be in good shape anymore."
"That's why you can't take life for granted. There's no telling what'll happen tomorrow. Nothing in life is a guarantee. You got to take it for what it is."
"Yes, Mom." Both kids said at the same time. They then said their goodbyes and did their hugs. They were about to go when I suddenly barked. I barked and barked. No! You can't leave yet! Not until you recognize who I am. They just looked at me.
"Oh, please, dog." Myro pleaded. "Don't be such a fool. Gosh, don't you know how ridiculous you sound right now?" But I didn't care. I just wanted them to recognize me, then I can stop my constant barking. I didn't know what else to do. This is the best I can do for now. Kun became very angry with me.
"Kako, stop barking!" He scolded me. "Bad dog, very bad dog!" He looked at his parents and sister. "Sorry. Mom, Dad and Mirai. I don't know what came over him."
"He probably doesn't want us to leave." Kumiko stated. She then looked at me. "Don't fret, Kako. We'll see you again."
"And maybe we'll bring you a dog toy or dog treat when we do." Gen said as well. "Maybe both."
"Don't spoil him, Dad." Mirai told him. They then bid farewell again to their son and left. Before Kun ordered me to stop barking, I stopped and looked sad. I had failed. They didn't recognize me. Yukko was dead to them and I was just this other dog to them that their future son owns now.
"What is with you?" Kun asked me. I walked to a spot in the house to sulk. He left me alone.
"Are you okay?" Myro asked me. I didn't answer her. "Hey, I asked if you were okay?" I just looked at her.
"Why do you care?" I questioned her.
"Then why did you ask?"
"Because...I don't know."
"Why don't you leave me alone?"
"Fine, I will." But she didn't leave me alone for she added something in a different tone. "Look, if I were you and I found out that my owners from the past didn't recognize me, I'd be pretty bummed too. It's terrible! No pet should ever to have to go through that. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I'm here for you as well as Kun. And you'll see those people again as well as others. It may not be as you'd like, but it'll do. You have to suck it up and just let life happen." She sighed, "I'll leave now, but I just wanted to let you know that." True to her word, she then left me.
"Enough of this pity party!" Myro said to me later with a sigh when she saw me still sulking in the corner. "It's time to move on whether you like it or not."
"I can't help it." I said to her. "I still want them to remember."
"Well, they don't. It's time to face facts."
"I guess and thanks."
"For saying that you're here for me and for giving me that pep talk. I can't believe I'm saying this, but you're a good cat." She smiled.
"And don't you forget it." Kun then passed by. He sounded worried.
"You're still in that corner, Kako? Are you okay? It's kind of getting late, but you want to go for a walk?" We both looked at him and I bolted up to my feet when he said the magical word 'walk'. He laughed.
"Okay, I'll just get your leash then." He left then.
"So, you're feeling better?" Myro questioned.
"I am." I told her and looked her way. "But like you said, it's time to face facts and move on."
"So no more pity party?"
"No more pity party."
"I didn't care that you moped. I just didn't want you to mope here. That was too depressing to look at."
"Well, I won't mope anymore about it, period! It's not worth it." I changed the subject. "It's too bad that owners don't take cats on walks. You could use the exercise."
"Nah! I can do that here."
"Well, me too, but I guess dogs are more social than cats are."
"I guess so and that's not a bad thing."
"I didn't say that it was."
"Look, you do you and I do me, okay, dog?" I smiled.
"Okay, cat." She sighed.
"I hate it when you say that, but I guess that's what I get for calling you 'dog' all the time."
"You bet!" Kun then came back with the leash. We both looked at him.
"Ready, Kako?" I barked, went to him and got ready for him to clip it on. He bent down to do just that. After it was clipped on, I said goodbye to Myro and he lead me to the door.
"Kako, can I tell you a story?" He asked me during our walk in the dog park. I looked up at him. Sure, Kun. You can tell me anything! "I know you won't understand me and it'll be silly talking to my dog this way, but I'm going to do it anyways." He took a deep breath and told me his story. "When I was four, I imagine going on amazing adventures with my future sister, my late great-grandfather and my mom when she was my age at the time. I also saw my teenaged self, my young father trying and failing to ride a bike and the time when my grandparents met." I looked at him. Why is he telling me all of this? He must have read my mind for what he said next was, 'I don't know why I'm telling you this. You're the only one that I told. If I told the others, they'd probably think I've gone crazy. With you, I feel like I can tell you anything and you wouldn't judge me for it. Now what am I missing? Oh yeah, I also went to the train station without my parents and saw baby Mirai. I learned many things over that time, but the main thing I've learned was that things might not always go my way and change is scary, but it's also good. I guess what I'm trying to say is even though I was jealous of my sister and wanted her out of my life, she still came into it and I should be grateful of everything in my life. Ever since then, I learned to have more of an open-mind and accepted my baby sister." I knew what he meant. If he, at the age of four human years, could learn about change and to accept it for what it is without complaining, then I should too. This is my new life now and I have to accept it for what it is. I will miss my past life, but it's not coming back, so complaining about it is just a waste. I see that now.
After we came home, I told Myro about my chat with Kun on our walk and my sudden change in mood about this whole thing.
"So you're fine?" She asked me when I was done.
"Of course I am." I told her. "This is my home now. I'll never run off. You can't get rid of me that easily. You just have to get used to a dog in the house." She sighed.
"Yay; lucky me!" She then changed her sarcastic tone. "I'm glad."
"Me too. This is my home and I'm glad to call it that."
All of a sudden, I heard a human baby cry. I snapped back into reality. I was back in the garden of my old home. I looked at the hole that I had made to escape. I'll surely be scolded about that later. But I couldn't believe it. All that I had went though. Meeting Myro and seeing Future Kun, future Mirai, and their future parents. It was all a dream. I didn't run away. I was still here. But it felt all so real to me that it has me wondering, was it a dream or did I somehow travel through time to the future where I didn't exist? It was all so confusing. All I knew is that I was back to here and now. I walked away from the hole that I dug up and went back to the house. I can't believe that I took advice from a stupid squirrel and ran away (almost ran away?) I knew the error of my ways and running alway wasn't the answer. And because of my bizarre experience, I felt like I was a better dog for it. Sure enough, I looked through the windows to see baby Kun crying and his parents trying to calm him down.
All of a sudden, I saw Kun's parents looking out at me after the little guy cried something out to me that I obviously didn't hear through the glass. His parents seemed shocked. Kumiko said something to Gen and Gen came towards me. He opened the sliding door. I couldn't believe it, but he did.
"Kun wants you I think, Yukko." He said to me. Gosh, I never thought I would hear that name again. I missed it and it felt good hearing it as my name again. I came inside and I heard the door slide shut behind me. Immediately, Kun stopped crying and looked at me.
"Yuk." He said. "Yu... Yu." Is this kid trying to say my name? "Yukko." I was stunned. So were his parents. He said his first human word and it was my name. I was impressed and confused at the same time. Why my name? But I didn't care. I was just glad to see this bundle of joy again. I missed it. I missed him. I went closer. Kumiko placed her son on the floor and the baby crawled towards me. Once he was close enough, he pointed his little finger at me. "Yukko."
"That's right, Kun." His mother stated. "That is Yukko. Wow; honey. isn't this amazing? His first word is our dog's name, can you believe it?"
"I can't believe it's not 'dada'." Gen admitted. "But that doesn't matter. The main thing is...our baby boy is talking!" I wagged my tail with glee. I couldn't agree more!
As time went on, Kun grew a bit. He was now no longer crawling and is talking in full sentences. I noticed Kumiko's belly growing again. I knew what that meant. Another human was about to join the family. Kun felt his mom's tummy and gasped, screaming in surprise.
"I felt something, Mom!" He told his mom.
"That's the baby kicking, Kun." Kumiko told him. Kun was confused.
"Kicking?" His mother nodded.
"Oh, before you know it, Kun, your sister will be here." Kun was happy about that.
"And then I'll be the bestest big brother ever! I can't wait! I want the baby here now!"
"These things take time, Kun. You just have to be patient." Kun looked disappointed at that and looked like he was about to have one of his temper tantrums when he cheered up suddenly to pick up one of his trains off of the floor. "Will she like my trains?"
"Maybe. But you know what will make all of us happy? If you pick up your trains once in a while so Daddy and I don't accidentally step on them." Kun put on a pouty face again.
"But I don't want to pick up my trains!" Kumiko sighed.
"You're going to have to one of these days, Kun. You have to also be a responsible big brother."
"But I don't want to. I won't, I won't, I won't!" He began to cry and have his temper tantrum. Oh great, here we go again. Kumiko sighed.
"Oh, Kun, not again."
"Are you sure we can handle all of this again?" Gen asked, who came in when he heard the commotion.
"We're going to have to." She smiled. "But we knew it would be hard. All of our parenting skills are going to pay off eventually." Gen smiled.
"They so are."
On the day that both Kumiko and Gen went off somewhere, they left Kun and me with Kun's grandmother.
"I can't wait until my beautiful granddaughter comes home." The grandma stated.
"Grandma?" Kun asked her. "Will she like me?" His grandma looked at him.
"Of course, Kun, dear. What a silly question. Now, remember to pick up your trains before your parents get home with your new baby sister."
"But I don't want to! It's too much work. I want to show her my trains!"
"Oh, now, don't be that way, Kun. Just do what you're told and set a good example for your sister. Now, you want something to eat?" Kun cheered up at this.
"Yes!" He followed her into the kitchen.
Aw, Kun. You're going to be a wonderful big brother. You are good towards me. I know you'll be good to her too. And I won't run or almost run off again or get super jealous. I hope he doesn't either. But if he does, I hope for the best and that it'll all work out in the end. I hope he realizes that this is his home and that he is proud of it, just like I am and always will.