Thursday, 17 February 2022 15:40

Unwanted by Isabella Muro

Unwanted by Isabella Muro“Saraiyah, come away from the window!” Aunt Meryl called. “It’s not safe during a lightning storm!”

I pretended I hadn’t heard and leaned up against the glass, watching the wind whip the tree branches and listening to the rumble of thunder. Rain poured down in torrents and was quickly turning the bare spot my uncle had cleared for an addition to the garden into mud.

As my finger traced a water droplet’s progress down the window I thought of the first time I could remember standing at that window during a storm, years ago--my first real memory, actually. It was when I had found out that I was unwanted, had always been unwanted.

I could still imagine exactly how I felt then, when I suddenly stopped the game I was playing with my cousins and asked my aunt why she was Emily’s and William’s mom, but not mine? Why didn’t I have a mom?

She had told her children to leave the room and then turned to me and told me I did have a mom, she just couldn’t take care of me. I had a dad too, she told me I must look like him with my tan skin and dark hair, but she had never met him, and didn’t think he had ever even seen me.

“Your uncle and I have been very kind to take you and care for you, don’t ever forget that,” she had said. Not that I would have ever been able to—since then she had reminded me on every possible occasion.

When she said it then though I could tell already that she meant she hadn’t wanted to take me in, she didn’t want me. My mom didn’t want me, my dad didn’t want me. Other kids all belonged to someone, but the people I was supposed to belong to I didn’t even know. I had gone over to the window, pressed my face against it, and burst into tears staring out at the streaming rain.

Since then I had seen my mom a few times, none recently. One those rare occasions she hadn’t acted like she even acknowledged I was her daughter—I could have just been any one of my many cousins. She didn’t really contact the rest of the family much, probably because of me. At least none of the other relatives ever mentioned her when I saw them. I hated the way they treated me—like I was different from them, or worse, inferior to them. Sure, I looked different, I had a different story, but I wasn’t any less of a person, or less of the family.

Outside a strong gust of wind knocked over my uncle’s lawn chair. Where it had been something looked like it was moving in the grass. I looked closer, straining to see if it was only an object being blown about in the wind. No, it was not, it looked like a kitten.

I hurried out to the back door so my aunt wouldn’t see and try to stop me. I ran barefoot through the wet grass to where I had seen the movement. Sure enough, there was a kitten nestled in the grass—it was probably using the chair as shelter before it blew over. The small wet animal didn’t run, didn’t try to escape as I carefully picked it up—using my jacket in case it tried to scratch me—and brought it inside.

The kitten mewed softly as I gently set it down, wrapped in the jacket, on the kitchen floor. I waited first to see if it would move and when it showed no sign of stirring I hurried to get some towels.

“What have you been doing?” Aunt Meryl eyed me suspiciously as I rushed through the room, dripping wet, with several towels warm from the dryer.

“A kitten,” was all I said.

I arranged some of the towels into a sort of nest on the floor and gently dried the kitten off with the other. It uncurled its paws a little and raised its head. Very softly I stroked its back. “I wonder where you came from,” I whispered. “I wonder who could have left you outside in a storm like that.”

I got up to heat up some milk for the kitten to drink, glancing back at it every few seconds. It was all smoky gray except for a little white spot on one paw.

“Here you go,” I said quietly, setting a small bowl of the milk in front of it. The kitten raised its head more and softly purred. I looked in its blue eyes and felt, somehow, a new wonder at the magic of life. There was something special about that moment, seeing the kitten’s wide eyes looking up at mine, and just knowing that it was warm and alive.

Smiling, I glanced up at the window and saw that the wind was still blowing, though more softly, and a rainbow was arching across the sky. Then I looked back at the kitten, and realized that I wasn’t unwanted anymore.

Additional Info

AUTHOR BIO: Sable Muro has been interested books almost her whole life. When she's not writing or reading about any and every subject, she enjoys listening to music or watching birds near her home on Florida's east coast.