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A short little thing about a friend of mine. I'm new to writing outside of the forced journals of elementary school. I'd like any criticism to help me better my writing skills.
I'm 22, female, born and raised in southern CA but somehow ended up in amish country Pennsylvania. I'm vegan, straightedge, and interested in writing for fun since im sure no one would actually pay money to read my things.
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I never did look in the usual places for friends and I never found the usual things in the people I took on as friends. One of my best friends came into my life after a visit to a place that misunderstood souls are taken to in hopes of giving them a better future, the animal shelter.
I spotted Him in a large metal cage in the cat room lying on his back, drooling. He grinned, as only a cat can, exposing his toothless gums and cat food breath to all as he uttered a pathetic “meow”. Impressed was I at this orange heap of tossing fur that rubbed against the cage as I neared in my attempt to be his friend. I was afraid that somehow he would sense some nervousness on my part at his obvious lack of traditional cat beauty and hate me for it. Bright green eyes stared into my small brown ones and begged for a touch, just one touch, like a death row inmate wishing for letters from anyone, just anyone to pass the time. My hand neared his head, dirty and oily from being neglected and gently I pressed my fingers between his striped ears. Purring, he squirmed for more, rubbing his head back in forth against the cage bars and “meowing” when I would stop for even a second.
He was unlike the other cats in the cat room that day, a unique face and eyes like a lion, staring me down, the other cats just played blissfully, unaware that I held the key to their freedom. This cat knew, he knew that the people who came in and out of his room everyday were not just there to pet his head in between glances at the other cats he shared his space with. Staring at me he seemed to know that I was not here to just pet his head and glance around the room at the other cats, I had a purpose and he wanted to be that purpose. As a kitten he may have been as naive as his roommates, but at 8 years old he knew that there was something outside of his cold and plain cat room and he wanted to be there instead.
I let my eyes wonder to the other cats, young and old, that occupied the other kennels in the cat room. There were the 2 kittens named Boris and Olaf who licked their paws and blinked their eyes at me, unsure of what my intentions were for them. Then there was the black and white girl name Misty, content to sleep away my visit in her donated knit blanket. The stripped male Tiger, Minnie, Frank and assorted other cats and kittens sitting in their cages staring at me or sleeping the day away. This orange cat was different, he noticed me and wouldn’t take his eyes off me, his green eyes followed me to every cage that I visited, eyeing up every cat that I touched.
Money can’t buy friendship, or so they say. But how else was I to get this creature into my arms if I didn’t buy him first, we couldn’t be friends through a cage, that just wouldn’t suit him nor I. He seemed to belong on the great plains of Africa stalking Impala with a pride of lions, not trapped in a cage eyeing visitors who dare not notice Him. But, if I couldn’t give Him Africa I could at least give him an area larger then a cage to claim as his own and twenty-seven dollars could do just that.
I forked over the money at the counter in the main entrance to the shelter without a seconds thought and quickly shuffled my new found friend into my car. Down the highway and into the city I drove, slowly, careful not to upset my companion who occupied the passenger seat in a sturdy cardboard carrier and finally reached my apartment. Opening his box in the kitchen he peaked out at his new surroundings, sniffing the air, then looking at me as if he was unsure whether he had made the right decision in having me take him home. I mixed him up a plate of food in hopes of offering a gesture of friendship and placed it on the floor near him. A few circles around the plate were made, several sniffs to make sure it was what I told him it was, and one taste to know it was. Trust was built, the food was eaten and I had a new friend.
Sharing our days together is one of life’s greatest joys. Unspoken conversations abound, sunlight trickling through windows is shared and tidbits of food are split in half. No complaints about the world and its problems or arguments about what radio stations to listen to, just complete enjoyment of each others company, the whole purpose for friendship, without a single word. Too old is my friend to chase things like most cats and he prefers to spend his time resting in his “den” (a closet with a cardboard box bed and a mattress made of an old pair of pants) or keeping me company while I cook and following me while I clean.
Never mind that my wonderful friend is older then I (in cat years that is) and that his life will come to an end sooner then if I had picked a kitten that day. He will live his days out with me, sunning himself in a window of his choice, eating and having his belly rubbed to his little hearts content. Curled up next to me my friend reminds me of all the things you find that you never knew you needed. Not all friends sit next to you at work or call you in the evenings to talk gossip and share recipes. Some friends, the most important friends, sleep at the foot of your bed watching over you while you sleep and can fit in your lap perfectly when you are feeling down.
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© 2001 Emcee Teacup
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