The cat knows Mrs. Wilson is dying:
Cats know these things.
"Remember especially the sick."
The cat--we may as well get his name
out of the way: Leonardo, Leo for short--blinks at the television,
tuned to a cable broadcast of last Sunday's Mass. Leo curls up beside
Mrs. Wilson and begins to purr.
Does it seem inappropriate to you, this
purring? It felt inappropriate to Leo, but he soldiered on,
not wanting Mrs. Wilson to feel abandoned as she parted this world.
Truth be told, his heart wasn't in it.
purring felt forced,
the way Mrs. Wilson arranged her face into a smile every Christmas
when she unwrapped the gift from her daughter-in-law: another bottle
of that God-awful perfume Lilly got at the dollar store every year.
Mrs. Wilson would make a fuss over the perfume, holding it to the
light saying, "How did you know I was running out, Lilly?"
before stretching her mouth into an even wider grin and adding,
"Isn't timing a funny thing?"
Lilly and her son Robert and their horrible brats with their
tail-pulling and shrieking had left to go to her family
Mrs. Wilson would coax Leo down from the top of the China cabinet
where he had perched all afternoon, stomach rumbling; bladder
Wilson would take a gold-rimmed plate; cut a thick piece of turkey
into small pieces, which Leo found entirely unnecessary, but
appreciated all the same. They'd dine together, Leo delicately
licking gravy from his paw, Mrs. Wilson eating a small handful of the
raisins she'd picked up from the Scratch 'n Dent on Main.
following day, Mrs. Wilson would take the perfume and the extra-large
flannel nightgowns to the thrift store.
will appreciate them," she'd say, guiltily.
evening light slants across the room and the warmth of Mrs. Wilson
begins to drain from her body.
timing a funny thing," Leo thinks, flicking his tail as his
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Labels: flash fiction, Trifecta Writing Challenge