Epilogue - A Peek into the Future
Mother Heart had a sweet and distant look as she looked at an old photo album from the time she lived in St Libory. There were moments such as the arrival of Internum, her marriage to Cosmo, the baptism of her nephews, and the few pictures her family had taken while traveling around the world long before to rescue the lost cubs. But the most special photo of them was still missing, and what made the yellow cat smile happily was knowing that the image would be done in a few minutes.
As she stared at the photo album with that satisfied smile on her lips, Sea Heart slowly approached and felt the joy of his former companion. Sitting on the bench beside her, he remained silent for a moment, watching a photo of the yellow cat's family the day they returned to St Libory.
- Remembering the old days? - he asked with a smile - Do you really have a very photogenic family, Mother...
- Thank you, your family is also very photogenic - she replied laughing - And yes, I'm remembering some things, and not so old. But of all I've lived, the best time is now, the present, with all of us together again.
The sailor cat grinned and nodded before both cats turned their gaze toward their families gathered in the backyard of Mother Heart's house in San Martin. There was no greater joy than seeing those 21 children playing and interacting together, besides the eight or ten adults who were present there.
Peaceful Heart, Honest Heart and Charity Heart played house, drinking tea and talking about taking care of dolls. Meanwhile Pantanal Heart, Heart Will, Unbreakable Heart and Athletic Heart were playing explorers, pretending that the two large trees at the back of the yard were the entrance to an old palace full of treasures guarded by Shimmeringstar Bear. Rare Heart and Mischievous Heart had fun jumping in the yard while Proud Heart marked the distance of the jumps to declare who was the winner. Sitting at the table was Traveler heart, with her large belly eight months pregnant, holding Cosmo Heart and Mother Heart's newborn son in her lap, Comfy Heart Ticat, who was sleeping peacefully.
Already the white tiger was taking care of Radiant Heart, Comfy's twin sister, while Caretaker Heart was by his side taking care of the daughter Lifeguard. Loyal Heart and Architect Heart happily prepared bottles for the two babies on the lap of the snow leopard and feline astronomer, as well as baby food for the older babies. At another table Internum Heart and Bright Heart were together, talking animatedly about some mathematical formula and testing their potential for future inventions. Next to them were Technique Heart, Ability Heart, Prism Heart and Cautious Heart, playing drawing, and the oncilla had knocked all the paint on the floor.
Dreamer Heart, Golden Heart, Shy Heart and Adamant Heart had fun playing with rattles and bells in the playpen, making a lot of noise. And Sugar Heart was hiding under the candy table trying to steal some candy with the help of Wish Bear. All of them happy to be together.
- Yes, you're right Mother; the best time is now, the present - said Sea Heart with a wide smile on his lips.
- Honestly, Sea, when you saw me in Seattle did you imagine this would all happen? - asked the yellow cat amiably - Did you imagine that one day we would be together again, with our big, happy families, and our beloved daughter Proud?
- Of course not, I could never imagine that when I saw you on the sailboat in Seattle. Just as I did not imagine that there I received my second chance. And today I am so happy about it!...
At that moment, Proud Heart left Rare Heart taking care of Mischievous Heart, and ran toward her birth parents, hugging them both without hiding the joy he felt in her heart, and a smile that ranged from ear to ear.
- I've never had so much fun in my life! - exclaimed the orange cat with tears of happiness in her eyes - Having you all here, along with me, is a true dream! Especially with all my siblings and cousins...
- We're living a dream too, my daughter - Mother Heart replied, holding her dear little cat firmly in her arms - You can't imagine how happy my heart is to have you by my side, playing with your siblings... You may be an adult, but you have the heart of a cub!
- You always liked to play when you were just a baby, and that fortunately hasn't changed - said Sea Heart, who now hugged his daughter with all the force of the world as if to make up for all the years of absence - But who won the jumping competition? Rare or Mischievous?
- Of course the winner was Rare, no one jumps like him - Proud chuckled, looking at her parents with all her love -
And since we met again, I don't just feel like a happy cub, but actually the happiest person in the world, because my dream came true in a way I could never expect. I have parents, I have siblings, uncles, cousins!... I am so happy!
- But at first you looked shocked when I said that Bright Heart and Shimmers would somehow be your brothers too - the yellow cat teased with a wink - Have you gotten used to this idea?
- Well... It's still a little strange to see Bright Heart as a brother, because I've always seen him as a crazy little scientist. And Shimmers... We never really got close before we became brothers. But I'll soon get used to this idea, because Internum is so cool, and Wish is very friendly.
That was when Treat Heart Pig finished setting up the tripod of her new camera, as she had been invited to record that meeting of the two families of felines and aggregates.
- Hey! Guys, its family photo time! - she shouted happily, calling to everyone, feeling a happy tear trickle down her cheek as she saw the joy on Proud Heart's face as she and her parents approached the picture.
- Stay between your mother and me, daughter - Sea Heart said kindly, looking at the orange cat with a wide smile...
To dream the impossible dream
Quickly Proud Heart stood between her parents, while Cosmo Heart stood beside Mother Heart, the two holding their newborn children in their lap. On the other side, Traveler Heart stood beside the sailor cat, holding Shy Heart in her lap while Loyal Heart held Adamant Heart. Internum Heart and Bright Heart stood by the white tiger while Shimmers and Wish Bear stood by the blue dog...
To fight the unbeatable foe
Caretaker Heart and Architect Heart, who had Lifeguard in her arms, stood beside the purple raccoon. Heart Will, Pantanal Heart, Rare Heart, Honest Heart, Peaceful Heart, Charity Heart and Sugar Heart positioned themselves in front of parents, uncles and older siblings. And before them stood Deductive Heart, Golden Heart, Mischievous Heart, Cautious Heart, Engineer Ticat, Dreamer Heart, Prism Heart, Technique Heart, Ability Heart and Unbreakable Heart, sitting on the floor.
To try when your arms are too weary
- Are you ready? - Treat Heart asked looking through the camera lens.
- Yes!!! - the Green and More families shouted happily together as an unseen magical light shone upon them, and Proud Heart began to weep with happiness, looking at her mother and father with the biggest smile anyone could have.
- My dream came true... - she repeated quietly, before Mother and Sea took her hands like when she was a cub.
- Our dream has come true! - corrected the yellow female cat also thrilled.
- And now we will be happy forever together! - concluded the orange cat with a tearful wink as all those hearts were joined in love and forgiveness.
- Then say "Cheese"! - Treat Heart said happily, pushing the camera button and recording the last missing photo in the family album, which was the end of that story of many hearts...
And reach the unreachable star!