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.