Circa 2012

I went on a walk with Destiny to get outside of myself, my mind, my restlessness, do something good. I found a son grown into a young and thoughtful man helping his father put up Christmas lights. I felt his calm presence, so mature that I found myself feeling younger than him and wanting to model him by slowing down my pace, being mindful of Destiny and my breath and the world around me. I found a teenage girl playing basketball with a heavy set middle aged man with Down Syndrome. Reminded me when I felt my best, compassionate and responsible. I thought if I was in San Francisco I would somehow have the courage to talk to them. I felt so nosey. Were they related? Was she volunteering? I realized that even I wasn’t that close to my uncle or other adults in my extended family. I felt guilty.

A 6 year old brother and an 8 year old sister on bikes and scooters wanted to pet Destiny. They said how it was going to rain and were thinking how they’ll avoid walking in wet shoes all day since they don’t have rain-boots. I said how lucky they were to do art and write stories and how when they’re my age, they’ll look back at their old work and say, “Wow! I was such a cool kid because I made this!” Then the little boy said, “You can do it as an adult too. Just get some paper and a pencil” and that tomorrow it will be a perfect day because it will be raining. I said that will be great because I could draw and write a story about the squirrel who threw a leaf at me. The girl mentioned that a bird threw a rock at her which started a conversation about penguins using rocks to make their nests. The girl thought I was in high school but I told her I’m in college but I haven’t talked to kids for a while so I start to talk like a kid when I’m around them, which makes me seem younger. The girl smiled at this; the boy looked confused. It was so nice to get out of the box, out of my comfort zone, and into the world, being the person I want to be.

 

Morning Dew

Dampened morning

early quietness

still and alone

chilly and cold

a bittersweet silence.

 

The school’s hallways

dripping torn streamers

faded posters

paper airplanes

and sleeping chalk monsters.

 

Sunlight sailing

moving across rust

of monotones

drying the blue.

Socks still wet from morning dew.

Zoe and Theo

It was a crisp fall day and I was glad to be inside curled up on my favorite place; Zoe’s lap. Wherever Zoe would go I would go too, especially if an untied shoelace was dangling behind her feet.

We’d play all sorts of games like paw peekaboo, circle tag, tight rope and couch jump. We would eat together, watch movies together, read together and my favorite! Sleep in front of the fireplace together!

A sound woke me up. Something seemed different. Something smelled different.

“Hey Zoe! Are you ready? It’s time to go and see your surprise!” said Zoe’s dad.

Zoe gave me a scratch behind my grey ears and off she and I went. I walked slowly behind her.

Zoe was already in the living room as I walked through the hallway. I peeked into the living room and froze.

There was another creature a little bigger than me being petted by Zoe’s mom! She had a big nose, a floppy tongue and her tail moved really fast. The creature’s teeth and claws scared me. And she smelled funny.

Zoe’s mom got up and the creature sniffed the air. She scampered to the kitchen and found my food dish bowl and ate every last bit of my kitty food! This is not fair!

At that point I ran as quickly as I could under Zoe’s bed. This must be a nightmare! Hopefully this creature is just visiting. I’ll stay here until she leaves, I thought.

“Theo? Where are you? Don’t be scared. Lucy is part of our family now! She won’t bite, I promise! She’s just really happy to meet you! Theo?”

This is too much. No way am I coming out! Zoe came into her bedroom and bent down to peek under her bed.

“Ha ha! Gotcha!” she said as she tried to pry me out. Luckily her arms were short and I was quick and small so she couldn’t get me. She closed the door and sat on her purple beanbag chair.

“Theo, I’m sorry you feel so scared. I don’t want you to feel scared. I hope you know that you are my friend and I miss you when you hide away from me.”

She sat there and waited for a bit then grabbed a picture book off her blue book shelf and began to read it until she fell asleep.

I felt lonely under the bed and quietly crawled out. I gently curled up next to Zoe’s head and fell asleep too.

I awoke with the sound of Zoe’s door opening and paws running toward Zoe and I. I froze as the creature licked Zoe’s cheek and hissed when she looked at me.

“Theo, be nice! She’s not going to hurt you. She’s just trying to be your friend, too,” said Zoe.

I felt embarrassed. I didn’t want to disappoint Zoe, so I decided from that point on to do my best to be nice to Lucy.

The next day I watched Lucy and how she and Zoe played together. It made me feel a feeling I didn’t like. But I still was going to do my best to be nice.

I noticed that Zoe would do things with Lucy that she didn’t do with me. Zoe never went to the park with me or gave me baths or played fetch with me.  I wanted to do those things too! I wanted to make sure Zoe felt that she could do anything with me.

One afternoon I made a plan to prove to Zoe that I could do anything that Lucy could do with her. Zoe was throwing a small yellow rubber ball to Lucy on the back porch. I found a crumpled candy wrapper and put it in front of Zoe’s feet and pawed it. She picked it up as I looked eagerly up at it.

“Oh, wow, Theo? You want to play fetch too? Well here you go!”

She threw the wrapper and I scrambled to catch it in my mouth but failed. I returned it back and this time I bumped my head with the leg of a chair. The third time I got caught in the curtains and tripped over my paws.

“Theo, be careful! You are being so silly!” she giggled.

I repeated it over and over. I was not going to stop until Lucy stopped. I was getting tired, bored and upset when I bumped a small wooden table and almost knocked over a plant.

“Theo!” exclaimed Zoe.

I decided to stop and walked away from the porch. Lucy kept playing with Zoe, gracefully catching the yellow ball every time it was thrown. Even with all my hard work I still never caught the wrapper!

Zoe and Lucy came into the living room where I was napping and recovering from earlier that afternoon.

“Time for you to take a bath, Lucy!”

Time for my next task!

Zoe turned on the water in the bathtub until it was the right temperature and filled up the tub. Lucy was a little hesitant about getting in but seemed to enjoy splashing around and making the rubber ducky squeak in her mouth.

The little tub that Zoe and her family sit on was open and ready for me to climb in. I was scared but I knew that this was something very important to me and had to be done.

I jumped on the seat and pawed the water. It was wet, cold, kind of interesting feeling on my paw. I liked the way the ripples moved. Zoe noticed me but was really busy scrubbing Lucy who was covered in soapy foam. I leaned in a little more into the water but accidentally leaned too far and fell into the bowl of water! Immediately I jumped out!

“Meeeoooowwwww!!” I yowled.

What an awful feeling! I can’t stand this! Water is horrible! Yuck!

After dinner I was mostly dry, thank goodness. Never doing that again. Zoe’s mom pulled out something that had a high pitch sound as she moved it in her hand. Lucy started running in circles and jumping with excitement. The leash!

The last task; breaking out of the house to follow them to the park.

As Zoe’s mom, Lucy and Zoe were going out the door I cleverly ran right through their legs and out the door!

I ran and hid under a bush to not get caught and be told to go back inside without proving what I can do. I never was outside before. I heard my family calling for me but decided to stay put. I wanted to explore.

Once their voices were far enough I started to wander. My paws were cold on the grey cement and there was nobody around. Suddenly I heard a loud thundering noise and a long honk! It was a giant metal beast! I ran back to the house but I couldn’t find it. They all looked the same. How am I going to get home?

And Zoe! She’s probably upset. I don’t want to make her scared.

I caught a whiff of something strange and familiar. Something from home…Lucy!

I started to follow Lucy’s smell, trying to ignore all the other unfamiliar smells, sights and noises. I came across a white house with a red fence and a butterfly shaped box with chalk in it on the drive way. I soon saw that across the driveway it said with big purple and blue letters, “Please come home Theo!”

Zoe!

I went up to the front door and mewed and pawed. Zoe’s dad opened the door and picked me up and hugged me. At once he called Zoe’s mom. Zoe, her mom and Lucy soon came home and Zoe ran to me. She hugged me for a long time.

“Theo you don’t have to do everything with me, especially things you don’t like. You are my Theo and no friend can be more Theo than you! ”

Lucy came over to me and this time I didn’t hiss but instead let her gently lick my nose. It was a long day and I started to close my eyes. I even found myself purring in Zoe’s lap with Lucy by my side.