Playful, batting, curious
Pawing at everything it encounters
The tiny kitten inspected the flower in its crack on the sidewalk. It smelled—different. Not like the scents he was used to growing up on the streets. He pawed at the stem. It sprang back and forth. His whiskers twitched. This was odd. Playful. Not like his other toys out here. This one seemed tamed, polished and yet, it was wild like him.
He sniffed the dew of the morning. Another day out in the sun. At least, it didn’t rain like yesterday. Yesterday, had drenched even his hiding spot under the alley’s porch.
The brisk sound of heels on the sidewalk sent him scurrying under the porch. He hid until only a faint sound remained of the well-dressed woman. Out in the open again, he returned to the flower. Why did it hang about so? Why didn’t it choose to hide like the kitten? What kept it rooted to its spot?
A siren blared in the distance.
He backed against the brick wall of the building behind him.
This had to be a trick. Something to get him to come out and play. Just as the children had tried to do a few days ago. He stared at the flower suspiciously. Why didn’t it fight back? Protect itself?
Its smile was forlorn.
It looked in need of a pick-me-up.
He approached it again. Hello?
The breeze brushed the petals. It leaned toward the kitten and gently stroked his pink nose.
He scooted back further. It—liked—him.
How did he feel about it?
It was a curious thing, for sure. All gentle and no prickers.
It was built for a meadow not this sidewalk. But here, it’d leaped to life. Maybe that’s why it wanted to make friends.
He walked around it. Sat down. The wind tickled it again. He reached out and tested it with his claws. It didn’t jump back or hiss or spit. It stayed up, bright and sunny. A welcome.
A homeless woman traveled down the alleyway; her cart pushed out before her with her finds for the day.
He scampered under the porch before she could find him.
Before long, the stars came out. He drifted off to sleep. Movement woke him. A rodent rummaged in the trash on the other side of the porch. Quick as a snake, he hurtled toward it, caught it in his claws, and snapped its neck. Dinner for the night. Pleased with himself, he scurried under the porch and ate.
The sun came up and the flower bid him welcome.
He touched it with his paw. Perhaps it would bring him good luck.
He darted down the alley, hunger coursing through him in zigzags of lightning. One small meal in a week didn’t curb the longing. He searched and found—nothing. He returned to the flower and discovered a small can of something wet and delicious next to his porch home. With a quick taste, he found it scrumptious.
Morning saw a new can placed outside the porch. He gulped it down. With a glance at the flower, he wondered who could be putting it there? The old woman with the cart? The kids?
He heard a click of heels and hunched down inside his hideout.
The woman bent down and placed another can. She stepped away.
He crawled out and tasted it.
She hadn’t gone far. “Hello, kitty,” she said.
He scurried inside. Peeked out.
She was still there.
His whiskers tested the air.
“It’s okay. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
And she did. And the next day after that. Pretty soon, she got to be as regular as the flower. One day, he let her pet him. Another, he allowed her to pick him up, scratch behind his ear. Still more days passed before he let her take him home. From her apartment, he could see the tiny flower, its friendship still abloom.
Poop scoop bags?