A Touch of the Paw

(Part 3 of 4)

Note: Ah, the wonders of adolescence. Mariah and Franklin have their first taste of love, only later to have their hearts broken into pieces. Distraught and depressed, Crystiana and Feninir set the siblings down for a heart-to-heart about matters of the heart.

"A blessing from above, this story is told
A love to last a lifetime and a hand to hold…"—From the poem Heaven Sent, by Cheyenne Cole

Characters:

Phileas the Fox (male)

Calliope the Koala (female)

Ambrose the Siberian Tiger (male)

Crystiana Papillion-Wolf (female, wife of Feninir)

Feninir the Timber Wolf (male)

Mariah Papillion-Wolf (female, child of Feninir)

Franklin Papillion-Wolf (male, child of Feninir)

Tyberius Timber Wolf (male, first love of Mariah)

Toni Timber Wolf (female, first love of Franklin)

Jasmine Timber Wolf (female, true love of Franklin)

Napoleon Timber Wolf (male, true love of Mariah)

Leda the Lynx (female)

Isis the Peacock (female)

Rah the Jackal (male)

Janus the Black Bear (male)

Gaia the Gazelle (female)

Mia the Clouded Leopard (female)

Cody the Golden Eagle (male)

Tian the Panda (male)

Nene the Black Panther (female)

Dorian the Bald Eagle (male)

Coco the Gorilla (female)

Sydney the Echidna (female)

Kevin the Kangaroo (male)

Georgia the Scarlet Mac Caw (female)

Songa the Bengal Tiger (male)

Athena the Snowy Owl (female)

Zack the Zebra (male)

Chapter 1—Falling In and Out of Love

As parents, Feninir and I knew our children would someday become older, but we never realized that the transition happened so rapidly. One day, we were watching them learn how to read, write, speak, and become socially adept. Today, our beloved children, Franklin and Mariah were now adolescents. What we didn't realize was how difficult the teenage years can be. Fortunately, we didn't comprehend until our cubs found what they believed to be "love".

One day, the inevitable happened. Both Franklin and Mariah had come home with their newest friends, Toni and Tyberius. They had been introduced as our children's boyfriend and girlfriend. It seemed very awkward to me, and also strange to the newcomers as well. It was evident that all of them were very much in love. The visitations to our abode continued for quite some time until the middle of the winter months. We were surprised when our cubs returned home with tears in their eyes. We had wondered what had happened, and the story was typical.

Youthful infatuation was so fickle ! I had never really had the time to go through that myself, but I was certain that Feninir had, being that he was so incredibly handsome, gentlemanly and intelligent.

We asked Franklin and Mariah what had occurred to cause the relationships to end so suddenly. From what we had known in the past, they were all getting along so great so the breakups were a surprise to us. We learned that Toni and Tyberius had oddly enough, fallen in love with each other and were now dating. Our children were distraught, depressed, and crying until they could cry no longer. Feninir and I decided to comfort them as much as possible and talk to them about what love was truly about. The love they had fallen into wasn't exactly love at all. It was more of a crush and hormonal influence, and they had realized their folly. Fortunately, they knew about the sanctity of marriage and abstinence, so we didn't have to preach that message to them again.

"But, when will we know when love comes ?", Franklin asked, wise beyond his years.

"When you realize that you are looking at someone you know you can't possibly live without, someone who makes your knees weak and your heart glow…Then, then, it's the heart talking to you.", Feninir said, hugging me close to him. I turned light pink at what he had said, especially because it had been entirely true.

"What about the sorrow ?", Mariah inquired, her sea-green eyes still glistening with the remnants of tears.

"The sadness in time will pass, my dear. At this moment, you may not believe the words I am saying, but your pain will dissolve. Those two weren't right for either of you. It's uncertain whether their romance will last either. When you become older, you'll truly understand.", I said, holding my daughter in my arms and stroking her long, black hair. She looked up at me and wiped her eyes. No longer was she upset, but she knew what I had said was true. Franklin came up to me and hugged me as well, kissing me on the cheek. Feninir joined them and together we had the warmest, longest group hug we had ever experienced.

Chapter 2—Change of the Seasons

Again, it happened. Adolescence faded away with the coming and going of the seasons. Oddly enough, seasons on Morphia were far different than Amazonia. Amazonia was always warm, and weather never changed from comfortably warm to colder than what I am used to.

The cold really wasn't hard to adapt to and to be honest I quite enjoyed it. During festive times, our cubs would return to our home in the wooded area of Morphia and spend the holidays with us. They hadn't lost their youthful energy since they still adored playing in the snow. I myself ended to admitting that I enjoyed it also.

Franklin and Mariah had finally found true love in the winter months. They had brought their partners, Napoleon and Jasmine. It was obvious that this was truly meant to be because they had been dating these fine, upstanding individuals for a couple of years now. We had heard talk of them wanting to get married in the coming spring. To us, this wasn't a complete surprise, but we knew that this was another step in our cubs' development. Sad as it was, we would have to give them away and they would become adults. Of course, we would never stop being their parents and friends. We loved them no matter what they did or what they became. Besides, they were making strides every day and were working hard to keep Morphia beautiful and efficient.

Chapter 3—Goodbye Isn't Forever

Spring came and all the plans had been set in motion. Ironically enough, the loves of our children's lives were part of their wedding, but had not married themselves. Tyberius and Toni were not dating any longer, but were still friends. They were busy with their own studies and were now fully focused on making this wedding perfect.

Sitting in the front row of the chapel, Feninir and I cried tears of joy as we watched our son and daughter march down the aisle with their life mates to be. I had never seen a double wedding before, but the experience was extremely joyful and vivacious. Feninir and I held each other affectionately as our children said their vows, exchanged rings, and had their first kisses as husbands and wives.

During the reception, we had a chance to get to know the families of our son and daughter-in-law. Strangely enough, Feninir remembered the parents of Napoleon and Jasmine from his days as a cub himself going through grade school. It had been a long time, but he had recognized the gentle faces of his teachers, knowing they had touched so many lives as they continued their jobs throughout the course of their lives. Feninir's friends who had been keeping contact with us were also at the wedding and the reception. From time to time, we would see them in our every day lives, but this was their chance to relax and relish the jocularity of the evening. They too, were celebrating and reminiscing of the time when Mariah and Franklin were only infants. We knew how blessed we were and how much more blessed our lives were about to become.

Fairly soon, we had to bid our children and children-in-laws a fond adieu as they left for a honeymoon on a planet I had visited when I was a newlywed myself. It was a peaceful, paradisiacal planet called Andante that was in another galaxy that wasn't too far away. Feninir and I would miss our beloved cubs but we knew they would return and visit us whenever they had the chance. We were never far from them, and they loved and respected us for everything we had given them and how we still gave to them even to this very day.

Epilogue

Before we knew it, we had become grandparents. Feninir and I had laughed at the notion of becoming grandparents, but we had given birth to our cubs in the middle-ages of our lives. Our children were still in the spring phase of their lives, but we realized that Morphians could have long life-expectancies and even the elderly could be as witty and spry as they were when they were twenty. It was something about the atmosphere, what they ate and how they lived. I still had much to learn and much to uncover. It seemed like every day gave me new possibilities as it did for my children and my grandchildren. We wouldn't know everything, but that was what gave life its zest and made every waking hour an adventure.

From the diaries of Crystiana Papillion-Wolf

To be continued…

In the final chapter of "A Touch of the Paw", everyday life is examined from the view of the Wolf's grandchildren, Yasha, Sasha, Tasha and Oleg. The possibility of the future is opened and explored at some length and how this story can touch many. We could learn a lot from the Morphians.

By: Elizabeth Berndt

September 15, 2004