There are five of them, just all alike except for faint subtleties of darker and lighter stripes. Two are a little blacker, one is smaller. All are fat and fluffy and happy. To me, they are just the kitties. I wish the mother had produced some variety.

To my girls, they are The Kitties. They haul them up from under the deck where the boys loosened a board so that they can easily be accessed. Bending down like little ducks, they fish them out and tenderly croon over them, one by one.

Thundercloud, Black Lightning, Fluffy, Claude, Stripey. They know them, which is which, and they never get mixed up. They know which one likes to hang onto and snag their clothes. They know which one likes to sleep in a swaddle of blankets and which one tends to scamper away, which bites their fingers with tiny nips and which one comes running to them when they play.

I ask myself, how do they keep them apart, that nest of same ordinariness?

It must be love that notices, and therein lies a parable.

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