Here’s my quick attempt at this week’s photo prompt:
“Stellar!” I whispered aloud. Even in my less than sober escape two nights ago, I had the forethought to leave my window ajar. Not that I was completely successful in my re-entry; cat sat on the sill, a green-eyed sentry whose meows grew louder the closer I approached the window.
In my present mood – crashing from the night before, mixed with the unavoidable knowledge that my parents would soon take their aim – the animal annoyed me, and I pushed the window up roughly, unconcerned by his toppling backward and downward. He often bore the brunt of my selfishness, but that was the agreement we made – that I would call him cat (not even worthy of the proper noun) from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and that he would expect no more from me than his namesake did from Holly Golightly.
“We’re alike, me and cat. A couple of poor nameless slobs,” I quoted for the thousandth time.
Pulling myself through the window, I expected a soft fall into my bed – positioned for this particular reason, but I came down on something solid. In the dark room it took a moment to steady myself and look to see what I had made contact with.
“Lissa, I knew you’d come home! They said maybe you wouldn’t this time, but I was sure you would. That’s why I slept here, waiting for you.”
Her slight arms reached up for me, and I had no choice in my reaction. I hushed her and laid as close as I could to her, our arms and legs entangling. She was soft and good, and I breathed in the familiar scent of her baby shampoo that she insisted our mom continue to use on her, even though she had just had her seventh birthday.
As I held her, cat made his way across the sheets to where our heads touched. She pulled one arm from around me to pet the animal.
“Do you promise not to get mad if I tell you something?”
“When you go away, and I stay in your room, I call cat something else.”
“You do,” I asked. “What do you call him?”
“Why do you call him that?”
“Well, two reasons. Even though he’s grayish and has those green eyes, his whiskers are pure white. Do you see? They remind me of Santa Clause.”
“You said there were two reasons, what’s the other?”
She put her arm back around me and pulled me close. “Mostly because Santa always brings me what I want, and when you’re gone I want you to hurry back home, so I sit in here with Santa and ask him to make sure you come home soon.”
I was glad the room was dark. Promises made in the dark are sometimes easier to keep, and tears can’t be seen.
I hugged her back. “I don’t think I’ll be leaving like that anymore. It’s boring, you know. I think I’d rather stay home and goof around with you and Santa.”
“You don’t have to call him that,” she said.
“No it’s okay,” I answered. “Everyone deserves to have a real name, and I think he likes it – look how his whiskers are twitching!”