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the Girl in the back
They applaud. I applaud too. “Let’s hurry,” says Ma. “The guests!”
At home they applaud again. Leah beams.
I go to the pet store and watch that little dog in the back. Third time. The fluffy dog in the front is paid for. The family oohs and aahs.
The little dog in the back whines. I leave.
“Hey sis, how do you like my dress? Ma just got it for me!” Leah twirls.
Tuesday, I tell Ma I ran out of pencils. She hands me a buck. “Go on honey, let me watch my show.” I grab my winter coat and step outside. I pass the Walgreens and go into the pet store again. I can’t feel my hands.
The new dogs are all in one big cage. That dog is still in the back. It doesn’t bark.
Leah leaves for college. Ma cries. “Visit us soon, sweetie darling!” I show Ma my B+ in Geometry.
“Leah used to get A’s.”
I ride my bike to the pet store. The warm breeze feels nice. I wonder where that dog in the back went.
“Oh, that ol’ thing? Little scamp ran away. Kid forgot to lock its doors and whoosh-- out like that. Dumb dog. Didn’t even know what it had.... We have some beauties out in the front. You’d like them. Everyone likes them.”
Their adorable round eyes look at me. Some lady tells me they’re just darling, just perfect.
I take a look towards the back. Huh.