Kimberly Gould’s Picture Choice: Both
Title: Landing On Your Feet
“What is that?” I asked, pointing.
Janine hugged her jacket closer. “A new friend?” she suggested.
“No, that is not a friend. That is a cat.”
“Well, yes, he’s that, too.”
“Absolutely not! You know the landlord doesn’t allow pets.” I couldn’t believe she was so foolish. We had a nice place here. It wasn’t big, but it worked for us. I stormed away from her.
“Wait, Lacy, don’t you want to meet him? Isn’t he cute?”
The kitten had mottled brown and grey fur. He blinked at me with big eyes, pleading with me.
I didn’t touch him. I turned my back and went to the window. Lacy followed, pointing to where she had found the kitten behind the dumpster.
“Let me see him again,” I said, taking the kitten. I held him out of the window, over the full dumpster.
“Lacy! No!” She yanked hard on my arms and pulled the cat back inside.
“It’s only two floors and the dumpsters full. He would have been fine,” I told her.
“But he wouldn’t be able to get out! What would happen when they collected?”
She had a point. “I don’t want to see him in my stuff.” I wagged a finger in the cat’s face.
Then I moved to sit in the window I had taken her to.
“Don’t mind her, Stripes. She’s a grumpy old lady.”
I pushed open the door and dropped my sopping bag inside. Shaking rain from hair, I was grateful it hid my tears. How could he? On Valentine’s Day? Who does that?
I filled the kettle and turned it on, trying not to think about him.
Falling into the chair with my mug, I blew across the top, steam swirling up and away, like my lovelife. I had really let myself believe this time it would work out, this time I would grow up and move one with my life. Instead, I was back in this apartment with my tea like an old lady.
An old cat lady.
Stripes had never been friendly with me. That suited me, I didn’t want to get attached and then have to get rid of him when the landlord found out. Today, though, he came to me. He clawed my pant leg and I bent to lift him to my lap. He’d gotten so big. A warm furry ball that started purring as I stroked his back and head.
When I stopped, sipping my tea again, he looked up at me. It was a familiar look.
“You’ll land on your feet. You’ll be fine,” he seemed to say.
I ran my hand over his back and his eyes closed, purr resuming. He was probably right.
Kimberly Gould is the author of Cargon: Honour and Privilege and the upcoming Thickness of Blood. She can be found most places as Kimmydonn, including Kimmydonn.com