The End

When I was about ten, I found a kitten in the dusty drive-in across the street. She did not skitter away when I approached to retrieve her, she just crouched, mewing at the top of her lungs, hungry, lonely, confused. I took her home and cleaned her up. I found I had a lovely white long-hair kitty, with one blue eye and one green. She did not run from me because she was deaf, as is common in cats with her fur and eye coloring. I took her everywhere with me for a few days. I’m sure I was miserably allergic, but that hardly mattered to me. I imagine my mother was less pleased with the swollen eyes and runny nose. I think the end of that story is that we went door to door, and found the kitten belonged to the house on the corner. I think I remember that.

At about the same time (for memories tend to group in places, so this is today’s place), I heard that on May Day, it was traditional to anonymously leave a gift of flowers on the doorstep of an older person. Behind our apartment, hidden safely in a deep garden, was The Old Woman That Scares The Neighborhood Kids. I can almost see her face, but not really. It is just an old woman face. Then, it was a little scary. Now, thinking back, it seems lovely, if furrowed. The generic old woman of my mind–I shall be her someday. One May Day, after I heard this of inexplicable flower rite (I have not heard of it since), my cousins and I crept up to her door and left a small basket of daffodils, and then we ran away in terror. At least I think we did. Perhaps I only imagined doing it so many times, that the memory seems real.

Not long after (still in the same place), I began to develop breasts. The most popular/notorious boy in school began to notice me. I don’t remember his name. He asked me, two years behind him, to be his girlfriend. I didn’t know what the position entailed, but I agreed, flattered. We proceeded to meet for a time each day, and walk together and talk. Often other friends were around, as is usual with children. Sometimes he would touch my hand, but he was never warm, and I was never sure of him. One day he sat in a tree, as I stood on the ground (I was trying to be girl-like for him), and he asked me if I wanted to hump. What? I asked. He said, you know, and made a circle with his left thumb and forefinger, and poked his right forefinger through the hole rhythmically. Nonplussed, I blinked at him, and said I didn’t think so. I didn’t want to admit that I hadn’t the first idea what he was talking about, though I suspect he knew. He made a disgusted sound and got down from the tree, leaving me there. The next day we met only so he could inform me that he was going back to his former girlfriend, as she was “more exciting”. I don’t remember being hurt. Maybe insulted. At least I remember the end of that story.

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