E.M. Miles, 10th - Middlebury, Vermont
Tanya lost her cat again today.
I watched her stand on the creaking, chipped front porch in a worn yellow bathrobe pulled tight around her curves and those sheepskin slippers and call to it.
Her wheedling, smoker’s voice trilled out in the quiet dawn. “Jackie! Jack!” She drew out the “a”, letting it pour off her in one long, seemingly labored breath.
She went inside, and I think that she’s given up until she stomped back out, the cracked screen door banging shut, a resounding announcement of her return.
She has a bag of cat food clenched in her old, slender, white hands. She shook it up and down, hoping the dry rattling promise of food will call the wretched animal home.
I closed my eyes, then, and let the thin curtain slip from my fingers and back into place.
When I pulled it back again, she was smoking a cigarette, and the bag of cat food was slumped against her ankle. I wondered if maybe she thought that doing nothing, that pretending to be idly smoking, by ignoring the missing cat would cause him to come slinking out of the dry, overgrown hedges snarled in her fence.
How does that saying go? A watched pot never boils.
I had to leave then, or risk being late to work. I lifted my keys from the bowl next to my front door and cast one last look at Tanya, grinding her cigarette under her slippered heel on her sagging, peeling front porch.
I hope that damn cat comes back. For her sake, and for mine
Students 6th-12th Grades