I looked longingly at him as he curiously rolled the little bucket between his paws. I wanted him so badly. I wanted to just creep up behind him, gather him in my arms and hold him close. He seemed the sweetest little kitten, a bit weak and wobbly as he walked and pounced, but a good kitten all the same. He wasn’t as afraid as his sister, or as vicious and snarly like his older brother, but just curious. It seemed to me that he would set out every morning to discover just exactly how the world worked.
I could tell you, I loved him quite dearly. On evenings when my parents were busy with their own affairs, I would crack open a can of tuna and throw it in the kittens general direction. The older brother would snarl, run forth, eat up, and then snarl at me again. The sister would be too frightened to even come out from the safe-space under the galvanize; but my lovely black kitten would stagger up on his weak legs, and eat. He would eat delicately and stare at me with his green eyes filled with suspicion.
Yet, these little kittens were outside strays; they couldn’t come inside my house. Although they lived in my yard, they were never supposed to be there. The mother-cat happened to have them here, and here they stayed. My father was very upset with this arrangement, as they were born in his woodshed. But I loved it, to see them climb up and crawl and jump between the boards. They were all too fascinating.
How light is your step?
They were ours, but not ours. There was a barrier there preventing me from truly loving and having them as my pets, and that was their fear, and what sometimes seemed like anger for me.
It always disappointed me to see them scamper and snarl upon the sight of me, though they continued to eagerly eat the tuna I would put there for them. I would think, how ungrateful! How absurd that I give you food and you give me nothing. Silly Kittens!
I didn’t give up though, I would stay and watch them eat and hope for my little black kitten to stagger up to me. I would sit there on the porch, so quietly, so still that they sometimes didn’t see me, not even my curious black one.
How sweet is your voice?
The most interesting thing was how silent they all were, not even a charming meow. Yet, they never failed to tell me how they felt with their eyes. My black kitten, his eyes spoke to me. They spoke to me of a want of independence, a lust for knowledge, but they also held a caution about them, a feeling reinforced by the bristling of his fur.
On the rainy days, my first thought was for them to be dry, on the scorching days, for the kittens to be hydrated, and on the boring days, my little black kitten just remained on my mind. Just to hold him, for him not to run away from me, I wanted that. Sometimes it felt even more lonely with him here than before. Lonely because I would have liked to be his friend and to care for him, but he would not let me. He would scamper away, taking cautious glances with those piercing green eyes. He was there, available to me, in my yard, but he held no interest for me.
How large are your eyes?
I would sigh. I would give him and his siblings, food and sometimes when his mother jumped over the neighbour’s fence, I gave her something too. Yet my kindness was never returned, I gave him what I thought would make him leave the woodshed and come up on the porch. I felt a little sad, though I wouldn’t stop trying. I felt as though I couldn’t stop. It was because I could see him, and seeing him always gave me a chance to try, and befriend him, and perhaps eventually have him love me.
How sharp are your claws?
I longed to know everything about my little black kitten, though he held no interest with me, I couldn’t shed the interest I held for him. One afternoon, I felt a strange sense of determination, that I could go forth into my own backyard and hold this kitten. This little ball of fur who had received my affection through tuna, water and longing looks. It was my right, I gave you these things, and you must now love me. Love me, please, I found myself thinking, love me, my eyes tightly shut with hope, love me, and everything will be fine, love me, I will be happy . Love me, you will be happy.
His fur was as soft as a flannel blanket, warm and comforting. His paws gently pressed against my chest and as he opened his mouth, and there he emitted a most serene sound. A beautiful little ‘maw’ but then his eyes became so large like a pair of enormous emerald marbles, and his warm soft body started to wriggle with panic. The sounds became less euphonious and made me frightened. His paws were no longer light against my chest. Suddenly there was a sharp pain there in my chest, as my little love dragged his claws through my skin.
I screamed a most agonising cry of pain, and dropped him on the ground. He quickly ran towards the wood shed; and with nimble, swift movements, was safe between the highest boards.
I fell back on the porch, holding my chest, feeling the wetness of my blood. Hot angry tears tumbled down my cheeks. I looked at the woodshed, and I could see him, trying to hide between the boards. I was hurt and slightly humiliated, yet I still managed to shriek at him,
Portia Subran writes short stories, poetry and is one the verge of completing her first novel. She has performed her poetry at the 100 Thousand Poets and Musicians for Change and has had her short stories published on occasion in the local newspapers.