By: Xavier Blackwell-Lipkind
Seven kittens sit in the window well. Three white, two black, two grey. Leah looms over them, her face becomes the sun, Mom steps outside. Leah wears Mom’s second flip-flop, Mom wears Leah’s second flip-flop. No time to trade, the mewing is so loud. Dad’s inside making eggs.
Where’s Mom? No, Mom, not you, not Mom-Mom—where’s cat-Mom? I don’t know, maybe she can’t fit down there. Yeah, maybe, look, that one’s really cute. Which one? The black one. Yeah, which one? The scruffier one. Which one’s scruffier? The one on the left, Mom. My left or its left? Your left, Mom. Yeah, they’re both pretty cute. Okay, Mom.
Get Dad out here. Eggs can burn, they’re always bad anyway. Dad. Dad! Da-ad! What. Get out here. I’m making eggs, they’re in the pan, it can wait. No, it can’t, get out here. There he is, plaid PJ bottoms and all. Looking indignant, he can’t believe he’s been pulled away from his precious eggs, a blue jay’s being really loud somewhere.
Dad shimmies up next to Leah, peeks into the window well, says aww. Then he pauses, he says aww again, he says tiny fellas. Dad, I told you it couldn’t wait. Really, Leah, we’re going to do this now? Just saying, you wanted to stay with your eggs. Leah. Yes, Dad? The blue jay caws maniacally through the silence.
Hope the Mom comes back, Dad murmurs, trance-like. Leah rolls her eyes, puffs out some teenage air, says, maybe the kittens don’t need cat-Mom, maybe the kittens just want to get away. Mom looks at Dad, Dad makes his lower lip tight.
The blue jay goes ca-aw.