Dad’s Cat This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     “Look,” prompted my dad, a hint of excitement in his voice. He was waving a photograph in my face, its six eyes locked onto mine. “That’s my mother, Fern, her friend Zoe ... with your dad in the middle.” I took a closer look; they seemed to be at a park. Zoe was standing next to a barrel, and Fern was sitting on a wooden rail with her arm around Dad. He looked about nine years old and wore a flannel shirt with khakis. Dad put the photo back under his nose, smiling contentedly as he gazed at it. After a moment, he said, “You know, I’ve got a whole bag of old pictures like this somewhere in the attic, I suppose.” The attic was notorious for swallowing items whole, never to be seen again.

I thought about that bag, and then remembered I had found those pictures a while ago, scattered on the attic floor, shredded, ripped, chewed and crumpled. “Dartagnian!” I had shouted. Dartagnian was my sister’s dog, well known for demolishing anything in his path. I had dropped to my knees and shuffled through the pictures. Luckily, they had been glued to black paper, which had taken most of the damage. Though some were ripped and a few corners and sides were gone, the situation was better than it could have been.

“I’ll be right back,” I said as I headed for the attic. I climbed into the sweltering space. It was always the extreme up there. If it were warm outside, it was unbearably hot; if it were cold, you’d wish you had a scarf and boots up there, and I mean it. Anyway, I walked to the corner, looked around a bit and spotted the bag, set idly among a group of insignificant items.

I sat down, opened it up and, realizing I hadn’t seen these before, began a trip down Memory Lane, not mine, but Dad’s. I saw him smiling, laughing, spending time with his family - just being happy in general. As I looked through the photos, I came across one of him standing in his snow-covered driveway with a cat in his arms. He was holding it right up to his face and had one of the biggest smiles you’ve ever seen. A tear rolled down my cheek. I can’t really say why, but it made me think. My dad was happy then, truly happy.

Is that still the case? Is Dad happy? I put the photographs back, stood up, and started downstairs. I had been hoping to leave them undiscovered for a long time, to prevent my dad from being upset with the dog. I knew, however, that this was something Dad needed to see. I carried the bag into the dining room and set it on the table before him.

“Look what I found!” I cried triumphantly. Dad was happy that day, and didn’t care too much about the rips and tears - he figured we could have the photos restored and they’d be as good as new. I’m really grateful for these photographs: they have shown me that my father is still a smiling nine-year-old boy with a cat in his arms.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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