Coming home from Burger King, I trudged down the familiar back road that led to my apartment. It seemed like all of my luck abandoned me as soon as I graduated high school. I was late for rent. My boyfriend, who will go unnamed, dumped me over text. He dated someone else immediately after. I was just recently fired from my minimum wage job at a gas station. My parents were beyond disappointed with me for getting rejected from my dream college. I had made the quite idiotic decision of only applying to that college assuming I would be accepted. The only thing I cared about that day was going home and getting some extra sleep.
I stopped in my tracks and looked around. I thought I heard a cat, but I didn’t see anything. Brushing it off, I continued walking forward.
Annoyed, I spun around again. Behind someone’s trash can sat a pretty, white kitten. She looked like a tiny cloud with her stubby legs and thick, long fur. It was slightly matted and dirty. Her bright amber eyes glimmered like the sun’s reflection on the ocean at twilight.
“Aww!” I cooed, kneeling down, trying not to get my jeans wet from the melted snow. She rubbed her pelt against my ankle, staring up at me with pleading eyes. I stroked her flea-bitten neck. Frowning, I picked her up gently and stuffed the tiny fluff-ball in my jacket. With my newfound motivation, I raced back home. I didn’t know how long this cat had been in the cold.
Finally, I was inside of my heated apartment. I set her down and she looked around curiously. I watched her adoringly, but inside I knew I couldn’t keep her. I was barely surviving myself. There was probably some rich family that would spoil her to death.
Loud meowing snapped me out of my thoughts. The cat was headbutting and kneading my leg. She seemed hungry, so I found a can of tuna in my fridge. She ate it quickly.
“I might as well name you while you’re living with me..” I hesitantly sighed. I looked at her flat face and long whiskers. As the uncreative person I was, I named her Whiskers.
The next few days came and went. I became emotionally attached to Whiskers. I scraped up all of the money I could get to buy cat food and a flea treatment for her. Luckily, my local veterinarian gave me a generous discount. I also applied for a job at Subway. Whiskers gave me motivation to keep going.
I was watching the local news. It was a boring day. I didn’t start work for one week.
Suddenly, my phone began ringing. I practically jumped out of my body. I grabbed my phone clumsily. The caller ID said “Julia”. I was confused. My best friend from high-school hasn’t spoken to me since the last week of school. I reluctantly answered the phone.
“Um, hello?” I said awkwardly. The only people I interacted with during the past month were the vet and fast food employees.
“Tyler!!” Julia exclaimed happily. “It’s been too long. I just found your number on my old phone.”
Startled, I replied, “Yeah, I guess so.” I smiled. We chatted for about fifteen minutes. She told me that she hasn’t applied for a college, and that she wanted to take a break for a year. I told her about Whiskers, and I confessed my feelings about my misfortunes during that month. She asked me if I wanted to meet her at The Bridgeport Coffeehouse. I told her I would call her back with my answer.
“I don’t think I should go. I’m not the best at social stuff. I mean, look at me. I’m talking to a cat.” I complained in stress.
Whiskers padded next to on my couch, slowly blinking at me with round fiery eyes, and purred. I stroked her head, and she curled up beside me as if to say, “You’re going to me okay.” I knew she didn’t understand anything, though. She still comforted me.
Smiling, I waited for a few moments, then picked up my phone and called Julia I told her that I would meet her at noon.
And so I did. The next day, I met Julia. We chatted away about funny and sad experiences, failures and achievements. Let’s just say I had a lot of failures. I mentioned about Whiskers, and Julia said that she wanted to see her. We agreed to meet again. And again.. We were getting really close.
Perhaps Whiskers did understand me. She was right. Everything was fine. Everything was.. actually pretty great. I almost completely forgot about my ex, and my parents contacted me again.
Finally Spring came. The weather improved, and so did my luck. I owe it all to Whiskers.
I started dating Julia. I applied for a different school I was still waiting for the letter. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t get in. Even if I didn’t things would be looking up.
“So Ty, she’s having a second kid.”
“Yeah, Josh wanted to be a little sister.” I was talking to my friend Michael on the phone.
It was 2023. Julie and I were married. We had one kid, expecting another, and two cats. One of which was Whiskers. I graduated, got a job, a nice house, and settled down. I’m still not as close as I’d like to be with my parents. I’m probably closer to my in-laws.
I recalled a funny conversation Juls and I had yesterday.
“Kitty!” Josh, our three year old son, pat Whiskers on her head. Our other cat, Jake, sat next to me and Julie on our couch. We smiled adoringly at them.
“Julia? You do know that none of this would be possible without her?” I asked her softly.
“Who, Whiskers?” She gave me an odd look.
“Yeah, I meant Whiskers.”
She squeezed my hand. “Well, yeah, but I’m still a dog person.”
By: Ollie, age 12, written September 2017