It’s simple really. I left for the kitten. It showed up at my second story window one rainy day and when I opened it to welcome her in she would not come. There she stood shivering in the cold and wet but she would not pass into my room. It’s like she knew something…
Dad never would have let me have her, of course, that is not his way. I must be “strong in this cruel world” I could hear him say. “I must not take any shit from anybody!” he would say. “Fight back!” and “Win at all costs!” were his mantra.
Mom must have had trouble learning his lessons too because I still hear her crying at night when dad’s at work.
I often thought of passing through that window myself, it seemed so easy but I must not have been as strong as my dad wanted me to be. Through the window is a disobedient and scary world. I even packed some supplies for the day I would be ready. I found an old bedroll from my dad’s camping days, days when he and mom would laugh and I would play. I found some dried food and I always kept my hair short. I figured short hair would be easier to handle in a disobedient world.
Everything changed when the kitten came. I knew I was needed for the first time in my life. When she would not come out of the disobedient world into my room I knew I must go out to her. I must pass through the window myself. I went to the closet and got the bedroll with the food packed inside. I shoved in a few of my favorite T’s and jeans and pulled up the window pane.
The window was hard to lift. It was painted over with layers of time and abuse but with the help of the large knife I found next to my father’s many guns, I opened it and stepped out into the rain. When I closed the window behind me the kitten nearly leaped into my arms. We sat together, she and I, with our backs to the window as I pulled her inside my jacket.
We take care of each other now. She needs me in this disobedient world, and I need to be needed. We live where we can, moving from shelter to underpass to mission.
So you see; it’s really very simple. I left for the kitten.
– Steven J. Wunderink