When you’ve been following the cat around the house all day, you really can’t blame him for escaping beneath the armchair, hissing glinty-eyed as the three of you approach. And when the other girls tell you to climb onto the chair and look underneath, they know you’ll do their bidding as good friends do, so now you’re on your knees on the sunken cushion, your hair descending first, head heavy with blood as your eyes search the dark. Maybe the cat assumes a game is underway, your hair like tangled strings inviting attack, or perhaps he’s like Mother and he’s had enough. Either way it’s quick and your vision blurs, a stream too thick for water descending from your eye. The other girls run when your scream wakes Mother, when she screams even louder, why did you bother the goddamn cat? and she can’t see it’s more than blood you’re bleeding. But you won’t need to worry because here’s what will happen: the doctor will prepare you a gauzy patch and you’ll sit pirate-eyed in a sterilized room while he says a quarter inch to the right and you would have been blinded and you’re lucky the eye is the fastest-healing organ. And yes you’ll cry again to think you sidestepped a future as a girl whose single eye might draw attention, might draw anything, but really you’ll be crying about nothing again since the patch will come off in a few short days and your friends will be back in time for tea. You won’t make a sound as you pour the liquid since Mother says a person shouldn’t talk to themselves, but you’ll still exchange smiles as you sip sweet tea from dust-coated cups, as you listen to the beat of Mother’s crooked clock while the cat self-grooms from atop the chair. Tick tock, lick lick. You’ll sway to the music of childhood.
Andrea Lynn Koohi is a writer from Ontario, Canada. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in Pithead Chapel, The Maine Review, Sunlight Press, Lost Balloon, filling Station, trampset and others.