Theres this cat in my neighborhood. He likes to sit in flowerbeds and watches the world go by, no care at all in his eyes. Im not a cat person. I much prefer dogs. They are far more affectionate and protective than a cat. My sister is allergic to dogs, so we can never have one. Every time I see that cat, I want to give him a good spray with the hose or a punt.
One day after school I find that cat sleeping in my moms rose bushes. No idea how anyone, let alone a cat, can get comfortable within a thorny bush. I squat down near the bush and stare at it. Its eyes lazily open, and just glance at me saying, Sleeping, go away.
Hey cat, I say. Thats not your bed. Get going.
He just turns around, swats his tail a few times, and goes back to sleep.
I shake my head. If youre still here in five minutes, Im getting the hose. Sure enough, he is gone when I check again.
That weekend I have to baby-sit the neighbors toddler, Henry. He is a buddle of energy. Its a rather nice day out for once. So instead of staring at Barney or colorful bubble things, I watch him play in the front yard. Its a good thing my mom keeps old things around like my tricycle and ball set.
He rolls the balls around on the grass, the colorful orbs keep his interest for some time. Eventually, he crawls over to the tricycle, making baby noises. I help him up onto it. Its funny; his feet barely reach the pedals.
Something large and fuzzy catches my eye. That cat decides to join us. I chuck at him, What you want, cat? He yawns, stretching itself on the grass. Henry burbles, pointing at the cat.
A ring comes from within the house. Against my better judgment, I leave Henry to answer it. Its quiet and still inside the house, except for the phone. I pick up the receiver.
your warranty on your vehicle
I hang up and go back outside. Stupid machines, they always call you at a bad time. Like we even own a car. I guess its about time I feed Henry.
I look towards the yard I called out to him as I search everywhere. I check the backyard, I checked back inside the house, I looked in the front yard again and there was still no sign of him. The tricycle is nowhere to be seen either. Panic begins to sink in, as thoughts of what could have happened and the amount of trouble I would be in. I was only gone for a few seconds, he couldnt have gotten far.
A shrill screech of brakes breaks into my concentration. My head immediately spins toward the road. I see Jerrys 69 Cutlass. He scrambles out of the car, hands on his head, yelling, I didnt see him! I swear, I didnt see him!
The worst plays in my head, stuck on repeat. All I can see is little Henry pedaling towards the street. All I can see is Jerrys red classic car. All I can see was
The neighbors begin to gather. Im mortified. This is my fault. Why did I leave him there? Why did I answer the phone? How could I be so careless? Something pulls on my shirt, gurgling my name. I cant stop staring at the scene. Another tug comes at my shirt. Reluctantly, I glance down. Its Henry, smiling and pointing.
Never in all my life have I been so happy to see a toddler. I hug him and he burps, laughing at his own sound. If Henry is here, what did Jerry hit?
I pick up Henry and carry him in my arms. I cover his eyes as I draw close to the scene. My eyes are playing tricks on me. They had to be. There is no way I can be seeing this.
Its the cat, with the tricycle.