Saturday 24 June 2023

Debut Flash: 'Tux' by Lennox Wiseley

After, questions still hot in my throat, I open the door to my mom’s place. Green jacket thrown over the chair, papers on the dining table, half a sandwich waiting in the refrigerator. I think of her in the hospital, small behind the bank of clicking, beeping monitors. I couldn’t help when it mattered, but I can feed her stray cat. When she checked in, she’d been worried about getting cash from the ATM. She was almost out of cat food.

I go to her place around the same time every evening, wash tiny pink chunks stuck to the sides of the metal dish, crack the new can, and leave the bowl under a chair on the patio. Even rinsed out, the cans in the trash bag smell up the kitchen.

He comes one evening before it’s dark. Black fur and white paws, a tuft of white at his throat. He appraises me -- like my mom but not her. I take a step toward the door and he runs away. I leave the food every evening, but don’t see him for weeks. I wonder if a dog got him. Or the hard winter, frost still creeping up the windowpanes in March. I come earlier and stay later, chest clenched. I walk the neighborhood, looking for a flash of white paws or throat. But the food goes. He must be coming in the cold dark and eating.

One evening, soldiering through a box of papers, I catch a flash of movement outside the window. Leaning over, elbows pressed against the cold glass of the table, I spot him under the chair, eating. A wave of relief passes through me. Finishing the food, he lifts his head, solid and grey as he passes out into the yard and disappears.

3 comments:

  1. What a beautiful story

    ReplyDelete
  2. I enjoyed the story, you did a good job at entrenching the reader into the scene, without sacrificing conciseness.

    ReplyDelete

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