TUESDAY: Dresses and Kittens


Copyright is held by the author.

LOUIS FARBMAN lived at 1101-05 Boatsman Boulevard in Queens, New York. His one-bedroom apartment was decorated with stunning dresses, art-piece dresses he thought, that had belonged to his wife before she passed. There was the silk burgundy one she wore to synagogue on holidays, when she went. It was a full skirt, long, lots of material, thought Louis. Lots of soft material, soft, for a nice, soft woman. Now it was like a quilt on the west wall of his living room.

Louis used to work in his own hardware store, and before his wife passed, his money went to three things: living, dresses for Muriel, and savings. He never talked about the savings because he was sure it was for Muriel who would need them when he died before she did. But now the savings sustained him, instead.

On Tuesdays, Louis walked several blocks to the Jewish Community Cemetery and sat on a tablecloth next to Muriel’s gravestone. He was proud of the stone, which was pink quartz, and had a Star of David on it. The inscription read, “Muriel Farbman, gentle, kind, righteous wife, and loving mother” and “1910-1960.” Where had the intervening 10 years gone? What would Muriel think of it all? How about the “music” the kids always blared in the street? She would have worried about his arthritis. Seems there was little they could do about it. Forget politics!

“Hello, Muriel darling,” said Louis. “I heard from Joshua. He is doing more with the computers at NASA. He can’t come home right now, he says. But what else is new? Nu? Computers . . . What exactly do they do? Do you know Darling?”

The evening descended and Louis lifted his aching body up and walked the blocks back to Boatsman Boulevard.

A filthy, scrawny tiny kitten, no bigger than a shoe, cried loudly at the centre of the sidewalk, crying piteously.

“Did you lose your Mama?” Louis asked the kitten.

The kitten cried.

“You are too dirty. You are nowhere near your Mama or she would have cleaned you,” said Louis.

“Meeeeeoooooowwwwww,” cried the grey cat with the long whiskers and the white spot on the tip of his tail.

“Are you hungry?” asked Louis? “Let me go get some cat food for you, you little scamp, waiting for me when you know Muriel fed all you creatures.”

Louis walked stiffly to the corner store. The cat did not follow. Louis bought a can of cat food and some paper plates. He returned to the screeching kitten and fed it “Tuna and Shrimp Surprise” and wondered what the “Surprise” was. The little thing gobbled the food all up. His stomach distended.

The cat looked up at Louis and inched toward his shoe. It put his head on Louis’s shoe.

“Nu? You don’t like it out here, do you? But how can I take you home? You might be flea ridden. You might scratch the dresses! You very well might! No, you stay here my little friend,” and Louis walked stiffly to his apartment.


The next day, just outside the door of his apartment house was the tiny cat waiting for Louis. It did not cry when Mrs. Rosen exited before him. Just as it saw him it wailed. Louis came prepared to feed the scamp. He brought tuna fish. The kitten scarfed up the food even more eagerly than the prior day. Louis ambled toward the post office. The kitten followed him. Louis walked slowly enough that the kitten was able to rub against Louis’s legs.

“What would I do to protect the dresses?” Louis asked the kitten. “I’ll have to ask Muriel what she wants me to do with you. If I bring you to the pound, it might be the end of you little one.”

At the cemetery, Louis placed a small rock on his wife’s burial stone. “Muriel,” he asked, “do you see this kitten curled up on your grave site? What do you want me to do with him? I could take him to the vet to deworm and de-flea him, but what about your dresses?”

Louis closed his eyes and mindlessly placed his hand on the curled-up kitten.

“The dresses should go in the back room,” said Muriel. “Just don’t let Snowtip into the backroom.”

“As you say Darling,” said Louis.


They washed the kitten at the vet. The whole shebang with the wash, the shots and pills and the salves cost a small fortune. They put Snowtip in a cardboard carrier and gave Louis kitten food and supplies. He hobbled from the vet’s office with all the packages.

“You will let me sleep?” Louis asked the kitten. “I doubt it.”


Louis woke the next morning with the kitten curled on his chest. The kitten was not much more than skeleton. Louis kvelled. It was a beautiful kitten. No wonder Muriel wanted it.


Image of June Wolfman

June Wolfman is a lawyer and a teacher. She attended Columbia University in New York, and is currently in her second year in a Creative Writing/English program at University of West Florida. Ms. Wolfman has published short stories in Commuter Lit and twice in Fiction on the Web (citations below). She is married and has two troublesome cats.

  1. What a lovely, touching story. Made me smile while bringing a tear to my eye.

  2. Absolutely heartfelt and well written

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *