From the Borrowed Stories Series
The soft white kitten stretches luxuriously in the beam of sunlight shining in at a sharp angle, dust floating in the light as though time had nothing better to do.
"Enjoy dat sun while you can dere, Misty," says Mary. "Won't last long and we may not see it again for a while."
Misty gazes at her and yawns.
Mary stretches her arms over her head and feels the warm energy flow through her body. Beyond Misty through the window, down past the brightly painted houses plunked defiantly on the rocky shore, a fishing boat chugs into the harbour.
She smiles at the thought that there could be a young man around her age on the boat listening to hearty stories from the skipper, half wondering if the stories were true. But who would make up stories like that? Why would you need to?
Mary sits on the worn green couch and takes a smoke from a package of Number 7 from the wood coffee table that someone's grandfather made with love a hundred years ago. Now if only that table could talk!
Roy and Noreen have banned smoking in their house, but it is cold and windy outside. Besides, there is delight in forbidden pleasures.
Mary relaxes back into the couch and puffs out smoke rings as she gazes out the window. She chuckles to herself with a Maritimer's ability to find humour, even in the sharp stones and storms of life.
The old wooden grandfather clock standing in the corner strikes four.
"Four o'clock! Ray will be home any minute now!"
Mary puts out her smoke and hides the evidence. She stuffs the pack and lighter in her pocket and starts for her room.
"The smell. Gotta get rid o' dat!"
She rummages through the house looking for air freshener and finds none. Then she spots a can of Lemon Pledge. That will work.
Mary runs up and down the living room and hallway spraying the Lemon Pledge. She puts the can away and slips upstairs to her bedroom just as Roy opens the front door.
Misty comes over to frolic as Roy takes off his boots. He stands up and gives Misty a playful push on the hardwood floor. Misty spins across the floor in a tight circle like an inner tube on a backyard skating rink, all four feet splayed in a futile effort to stop twirling, eyes like saucers as she tumbles over the first step towards the basement.
Roy lunges to save Misty in his socks and his feet slip out from under him.
"Lord tundren jeezus, Noreen! What have you dun?" Roy curses as he scrambles to stand up, crashing into floor a few times before using the bench by the door for support.
Misty climbs up the stairs and is okay for the usual reason for cats.†
Mary hides under the covers of her bed as Roy rants downstairs.
"Note to self. I will not confess this for a long long time. Maybe never!"
Years later at a kitchen party, Mary cannot keep the tale quiet any longer and confesses to Roy and Noreen.
Roy smiles at Mary over his glass of Screech.
"I thought ya mighta had something ta do wid it, Mary."
January 18, 2013, Revised January 19, 2013
Part of the Borrowed Stories series
†The Literary Humane Society confirms that no animals were harmed in the telling of the story.