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Tabby Cat

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Saturday was not a good day. Saturday meant dreary rehearsals. Saturday meant going over a long list of things that she didn't have. Saturday meant dishing out the little money that she had saved all week. Saturday meant all the dreadful things tightly zipped together.

For Maya, life was nothing but a tricky game that came with no instruction or warning. Her upper lip twitched as she uttered the closest alternative to the word 'ratiocination'. She thought of her foul mouthed director and his most palatable reaction to her unfixable speech defect. She shuddered. She remembered teasing her childhood classmate Yatra for her lisping. Karma had a wicked sense of humor. A week old pile of dirty laundry jeered at her from the corner of the room. Rain and humidity were already taking turns wafting the stench around. She heaved the moth smelling ball of cloth into the washing machine. She looked at the fabric detergent. At this rate, even soaps and washing powder would start becoming luxuries. She sighed and left.

Back in her room, a large basket sat on the table. In it, slept a large brown tabby cat, as old as time. Many people have asked Maya why she still kept the cat. After all, all it ever did was eat and sleep. Nothing inspirational. They suggested goldfish - the flashy, quirky things that always swam and never slept. They said that she needed inspiration in her life and a goldfish was just the thing. Some even said that she needed goldfish to 'favor her fengshui' to bring luck and fortune into her life. A goldfish to make positive waves in her stagnant life. Not a cat that could eat the goldfish. But she knew that all that the goldfish would bring was extra cost and a demand for a periodic change of water. The cat fended for herself. Ms.Tabby Cat stirred to life as if prodded by the thoughts of a potential rival that her owner could replace her with. But no problem. Her problems were small enough and even delicious enough to be chewed, swallowed and digested. She blinked her beady eyes at Maya and lifted her head heavily. With all due respect, she licked her paws clean and purred several times ritualistically to the invisible deity in front of her. And in one fluid motion, she lifted her huge body off the basket and made a leap for the floor, landing perfectly on all fours. She navigated the room dexterously, dodging the open bags and scripts, and made it to the open window. Maya sat in her rickety chair, completely ignored by her only roommate. But she did not mind. It was an unwritten agreement of mutual neglect between two roommates, perfectly cordial and consensual. An independent homo-feline co-existence.

Maya's phone rang. It was her boss. The thoughts of the evening's rehearsal and the word 'ratiocination' brought butterflies in her stomach. The type of butterflies that her tabby cat strived to catch all noon in the backyard, only to return fruitless and vexed. Then the cat would feast herself to an hour of paw-licking and intense purring. Maya sprawled herself down on the floor, pushing aside the mess with her feet. She closed her eyes and tried to buy herself the comfort of sleep. She mimicked her cat's sleeping position by curling herself into a ball. Maybe shrinking her size could squeeze the worries out of her head and give her a moment of peace. What was the root to the feline peace that engulfed the room, cleverly excluding only her from its soothing bubble? Maya did not know. She was too busy waitressing at the local cafe, delivering dialogues to people who cared more about her lips than about the words coming out of them, trying so hard to make ends meet to decode her cat sister's secret to harmony. She drew in deep breaths and let them out (the human equivalent of purring?) only to find herself back in her mind's theatre, melting under the merciless spotlight, saying things she never meant, doing things others wanted her to do and never really liking anything. She realized that Ms.Tabby Cat had to do none of these things.

Then it hit her. She could never be like her pet cat. Not in this human life. Ms.Tabby Cat sat on a very high pedestal, jutting right out of the tainted human atmosphere, unscathed by worldly worries. Or she could simply swat away her version of worldly worries with her paw.

Maybe, wearing an oversized tabby colored sweater was the closest thing Maya could do.



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This article has 6 comments. Post your own!

guardianofthestarsThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
today at 6:33 pm:
Too cute. ^_^ I really liked it. It was so sweet. :)
 
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BookNerd35This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
yesterday at 5:38 pm:
Wonderful! Loved it!
 
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SaphiraBrightscalesThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
May 25 at 4:17 am:
Sweet. I mean I could truly taste this. My taste buds were like "WOW' hhahaahha now really I LOVE your vocabulary.. My favourite part was when you talked about Mrs. Tabby Cat.. That part was real fun. The rest I liked a lot too :D This article truly made me think .. it ain't just this one story, it's as if thousands of such similar stories were spinning in my head... telling their own tales. Beautiful. Have an amazing day! Plus, I'm back!
 
AugustSummerFlingThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 26 at 8:33 am :
Hey, Saphira! I'm so so so happy that you're back! :D how did your test go?? And I'm glad you liked the story :) inspiration from one fine English class, some three years back. Our teacher was like, 'life has fallen into a mechanical rut. Look how the cats always take their own sweet time after they wake up. Unlike us. Running head over heels. ' lol
 
SaphiraBrightscalesThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
yesterday at 11:20 am :
Hey, I'm happy to BE back :D And well it weren't just some tests, full-on Cambridge International Exams and so far they've gone well enough,,..Just awfully need prayers,, One paper still left but that one's on 10th June.    And you probably have a real great teacher :))) 
 
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E.J.MathewsThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
May 12 at 6:35 pm:
Very good! This piece was very thought provoking, and had excellent vocabulary as well as imagery. Amazing work, keep it up.
 
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