A terrible evening it had been and then it began to pour. Trees hissed and swung in the wind, clouds shifted suspicious glances at each other, puddles formed into moats, and I stood there, in the midst of it all. It was my time to make amends. I could think of nothing else until this happened. My mind was free of thought and my steaming breath allowed me to perceive my existence without much deliberation.
The houses surrounding me were haughty, soaked in water and phony affluence. They stood straight and tall; if one broke ranks, would the rest follow closely in suit? This wasn't something that crossed my mind, but merely a suggestion brought to surface by the wind, which seemed keen on finding out.
But I did not care for such petty games. There was business to take care of.
I made carefully for number 648. It bore no special features that could differentiate it from its neighbors, save for an ugly overturned clay pot of what was probably once petunias, now reduced to a mass of brown, green, and yellow earth vomit. The wind may have knocked it over in its haste—I did not know.
I stepped over this brilliant display of shattered life as I climbed the staircase carefully. Number 648 did not appear to welcome my presence and portrayed this by roaring loudly. It was fortunate that I did not care. Houses, while highly intelligent structures, had no choices nor freedom of mobility, so I was not worried. In some ways, it was probably worse off than I, but I had no sympathy to distribute.
I touched the banister and could feel it shudder with suppressed rage. In all my experience of stair climbing, I never felt such a blatant unwelcoming attitude. I reach the welcome mat and stopped myself from wiping my shoes on it out of spite. Tap tap taptaptap taptap taptaptaptap, I knocked. The only response I received was a slight fluttering of curtains which could easily have been the doing of the wind. But I wasn't convinced.
Without expression, I turned around, headed back down the stairs, and navigated my person to the back of the house, bypassing two gates and a tangle of slimy garden hoses. From some habitual repetition buried in the bowels of my mind, I knew where to go. I approached the backyard with little notice of the radical changes this place had allowed to manifest. I pushed aside the thorny overgrown grapes vines obscuring my path, and wove my way around obese, purple watermelons.
I rounded the corner and found a young couple laughing and drinking tea on a wooden porch. I stepped onto the porch tentatively. The rain did not seem to disturb them. And neither did my presence.
I stood there in front of them and said nothing. The young woman, fair in complexion, glanced happily at her companion who was speaking animatedly, gesturing motions accentuating his ideas. I could not hear what he was saying though. No doubt he was competing with the storm that had suddenly picked up, but I wondered how the woman could understand what he was saying if I could not. I leaned closer, but just as the woman laughed, a bolt of lightening flashed, pursued closely by a clap of thunder, and her joy was lost with that dreadful sound. They continued their exchange without the slightest response to the weather, not even a shift in glances.
I stepped closer, enough to reach out and touch the woman's face, which I did. It was as soft and warm as I remembered it. I withdrew my hand almost immediately. I waited with bated breath, but she only furrowed her eyebrow and scratched at the place where my fingertips had traveled last. She didn't turn to look at me.
I looked at her companion. He did not notice me either, nor his lover's temporary discomfort. He carried on with his thespian gesturing, features full of energy and ease. It was not a familiar look I was familiar with, but it suited him well.
Suddenly, I heard a low mew. I whipped around. There she sat, regal and bedraggled, a good ten yards away. Just as I remembered her, just as I had left her those many years ago. She stared at me sullenly, torn between hiding and jumping into my arms, which were now outstretched as I approached her.
I'm here, I wanted to tell her, but I couldn't and I was afraid she wouldn't believe me anyway. Joyful thoughts flooded my mind and out through my eyes as I walked and walked and walked, until I realized that I was not getting any closer. I willed my legs into running, but it was no use, and she sat there, no longer sullen, but glaring.
What a fool I had been not to account for the time that had passed. But I had never expected it to go spiraling back on me like this. It was becoming harder for me to just maintain the distance between us, even as I ran. It seemed that for every step that grew between us, she grew tinier and tinier, until her eyes closed and she could sit no longer (for she was a squirming pile of wet fur at that point).
No! I tried to shout, and I felt it come out, but the wind was vengeful and I was not heard. Everywhere around me vines were untangling, bricks were rebuilding, and branches were retracting. The couple, their silent laughter growing wilder and more passionate, fell back to the height of their youth, beautiful as I had never been allowed to witness.
Suddenly it stopped, sooner than it had come. The sun ambled out and smiled sagely at the abundant green around me. It smiled at the great garden of small watermelons and grapes, and the giggling children on the wooden porch behind me, at their silly noises and tea party. It smiled at the dim gray clouds which were now slowly sauntering away to another place.
But when it turned to me, I sank to my knees and refused its support. It beamed with such radiance but could not dull the painful rhythm in my chest as I felt at the ground where I could swear I saw a paw print not only a second ago.
I failed, I realized. More than just too late, I was now too early. I let my fist hit the ground and did not feel the pain shoot through it. The rain had dried but the ground below my face was growing moist again. I had come back to fix, not to undo completely.
A slight rustling noise drew my attention from the now soaked earth. I lifted my head slowly. Two eerily familiar green eyes bore into mine from the side of a bush. I grew excited, but quickly realized that it wasn't who I'd hoped for, despite the striking similarities. But the eyes held my gaze, despite my attempts to do otherwise. A few more seconds and realization dawned on me. The eyes blinked and were gone as quickly as they'd come, and I smiled, knowing that I would see her again soon.
a.n. this isn't so much a drabble as a short story, so i decided not to add it on as a third chapter of F33D CH1PPY, even though this is about my cat too. decides. it holds a lot of sentamental value for me.