Kätlin Vainola. “Sonya and the Cat”

Reading sample


Oskar the fashion designer

Everything was very quiet at first – Oskar was hiding somewhere. Sonya started looking for him. All of a sudden, a strange shrieking noise came from the bedroom:

“Oh, no – what’s happening here! Oh, no!”

Sonya rushed to the scene. She hadn’t known her father could make sounds like that.

The ceiling hadn’t fallen down, there were no holes in the floor, and the windows weren’t broken.

Only her father stood there, his face as red as a tomato, trembling and pointing at the wardrobe. His fancy suit was hanging from the wardrobe door. It was the one he was supposed to wear at his performance the next day.

Sonya looked at the suit, which was mostly full of holes, torn threads, and muddy paw prints.

Oskar had climbed up the suit and was dangling from it.

“That’s my suit for tomorrow!” Sonya’s father yelled angrily.

“It’s just altered a little now,” Sonya reckoned. “Like one in Mom’s fashion magazine!”

“I can’t perform in that, in any case,” her father huffed. “What a nasty cat!”

You’re nasty,” Sonya said offendedly.


Making amends

Sonya found Oskar in an empty shoebox. She picked up the kitten and sat on the floor by the front door, holding the cat in her lap.

“Can you forgive me for calling your cat “nasty”?” Sonya’s father asked, sitting down next to her.

“I don’t know. I’m probably going to run away,” she told him.

“Just forgive me, you can’t run away!” her father said.

“Sometimes I just can’t stand it that you don’t live with us anymore!” Sonya said.

Her father was silent. Sometimes, he himself couldn’t stand the fact that he and his cello had moved here into the big apartment building, either.

“Well, that’s just the way things went, somehow,” Sonya’s father finally said.

Oskar suddenly became tired of sitting in Sonya’s lap. He started to squirm and leapt down. His toy ball was lying on the floor by the cupboard. Oskar trotted up to the ball and started prodding at it with his nose.

Sonya and her father both burst into laughter. Oskar was just so unbelievably darling.

On Saturday, Sonya’s father performed in his yellow suit, instead. In Sonya’s opinion, her father and the museum matched much better in that suit. Hanging on the wall behind the string quartet was a familiar painting of a girl playing with three cats.

The girl was also wearing a yellow dress. Sonya sat in the front row and clapped very loudly during the parts where the audience clapped.

On Sunday, Sonya and Oskar went back to her mother’s house.


Translated by Adam Cullen