A Teenager, a Cat, and an Alarm Clock

October 3, 2007
By Sara Beckett, Boulder, CO

Furious, I flung my alarm clock out my bedroom window on the third floor. It made a satisfying crunch as it met the sidewalk for the first—and last—time. It was its own fault, really, I convinced myself. It had brought this untimely end upon itself. Insulting me like that was entirely uncalled for.
My cat yawned apathetically, then gave me a piercing stare. She did not like it when I broke things. As I listlessly picked up various items and set them down again, I once more became preoccupied with the question that had been burning in my mind for some time now: Where had all my socks gone? Maybe they went with the alarm clo—NO. Absolutely absurd. What a notion! ...Morbidly intrigued with the idea, nevertheless, I slowly crept over to the open window, peered out, and—banged my head on the windowsill. A piercing siren had shattered the silence surrounding the quiet, suburban neighborhood I resided in, as well as my last shreds of sanity.

The girl sat huddled under the blankets on her bed, sobbing uncontrollably. She felt like she just wanted to disappear off the face of the planet. How could she have been so blind to what was going on around her? The sunlight poured through the open window of her bedroom, reminding her that the rest of the world was joyfully content outside, while she was sitting here in angst. Her cat crept up to her face, then started gently licking her tears. Oh, if only he could speak! He would know just the right thing to say to cheer her up. She held him close to her chest, somehow producing a watery smile as he began to purr. Even without speaking he knew how to make her feel better.

She set her alarm clock for six pm so she would still have time to get ready for the party after she slept off her miseries, then sank back underneath the covers again. Stupid, stupid, STUPID! Why had she agreed to go to that dreaded party in the first place? She knew she would only succeed in breaking her heart yet again, but she couldn’t help it! She had to see him—even if he was engaged now. A fresh flow of tears threatened to pour out her eyes again, and she squeezed them tightly shut. Instead of going away, however, they slowly made their way down her cheeks and splashed onto the comforter. A throbbing migraine made its presence known as well. Spectacular. Just what she needed.


“I must advise you to never take a cat for a walk. Though he may seem perfectly civil when not on a leash, attempting to control where a cat may walk could very well be the worst mistake you could ever make in the course of your lifetime. Trust me, it isn’t pretty.”

He mulled his speech around in his head, testing how every word would sound, trying to predict what the class’s reactions would be. He glanced at the alarm clock on the nightstand next to his bed. 4:03. It was still far too early to get up. Why, for the love of all that was holy, could he not stay asleep anymore? His teachers were becoming concerned with his performance in school, complaining about his apathetic approach to his assignments and constantly droopy-eyed appearance. It wasn’t as if it was his fault he was becoming an insomniac! Clearing his mind never worked anymore, and counting sheep just reminded him of his less-than-average grades in Algebra. And today he had to give a memorized speech to his English class on a topic he had haphazardly written about at 2 am this morning. He would be astounded if it even made logical sense to anyone but himself. He couldn’t help but feel that he might be the only one on the face of the planet who had any idea what on earth he was talking about half the time, and—here he was talking…or…thinking…to himself again! This was bad. His own thoughts were starting to confuse him now. It was only a matter of time before they locked him up in the loony bin.

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