Raul This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   I canstill remember him wailing his own name. He would sit outside my bedroomdoor and wail until I let him in. Raauul, Raauul; that's exactly what itsounded like.

Then I remember his strokes and him growing thinuntil there was almost nothing left, just a shell of the cat I used toknow. His yowl was always there, though if he was sick it was almost awhimper. But he always pulled through. He always pulledthrough.

One night I slept over at Margaret's house. I told herhow lucky she was her dog was going to live, and how Raul was gettingtoo old. Eighteen was just too old; I would have to say good-byesoon.

I never got to say good-bye.



Beba

Thecar screeched to a dead stop. Inside, I sat happily on the red carpetedsteps, humming. "Mami, look, I tied my shoe all by myself."

"Very g-" the doorbell interrupted. I crept down thestairs to see who was at the door. There stood a woman in her earlythirties I had never seen before, and I don't think anyone in my familyhad either. From the look on her face I knew I wanted it to stay thatway.

Then, I saw the scene behind her. It was too much for me. Inthe middle of the road was the picture which matched the screechingsound. A small, white car and a small, brown dog hadmet.

"Is that your dog?"

The lady pointed. Iknew exactly where her finger was going. Straight to Beba motionless infront of the car, straight to the beginning of mytears.



Mr. Carino

"Why are we here, Mami? Whydo we have Mr. Carino? What does this place want with ourcat?"

"We're here to ... to give him a littlevacation."

"Where are we? Can I holdhim?"

"You know where we are, Tio Ar-mando's house. Andno, you can't hold him, he'll bite you. He's as big as you are; you'dprobably drop him and he'd run away."

The ring of the belland the cold drizzling rain. The hardness of the concrete steps under myfeet, and the cold of the black wrought-iron railing. The ominous door.The only thing between me and the evil that wanted to take my cat away.That barrier, that door, as big as my mother. But when you're three,everything is huge. The door swung toward us, and we stepped right intothe heart of the evil.

"Gracias. The cat, he's beautiful, Ilove him already. Hola, Mr. Carino."

"Mami, why doesTio Armando have Mr. Carino?"

"Shh, Lia, not now,enough with the questions. We've got to get going. I just stopped by togive you Mr. Carino. We'll see you later, Armando.Adios."

"Adios, Gloria, and thanks for thecat."

As I looked up, observing the adult business going on,I saw that Tio Armando had a smile, but Mami's face I couldn't read.Her expression was one of many emotions. It left me unsure how I shouldfeel about what had just happened between my uncle and mother. It put afeeling in my stomach I wouldn't be able to describe until I got older -the feeling that means knowing something isn't right.

Then Iwas pushed out. Back past the door, down the steps, the railing to thecar. That was the last time I saw Mr. Carino, and I realized it as thecar door closed and triumphantly locked. There was no way I was going toget him back.

"Mami, Mr. Carino. I want Mr. Carino," Isaid with sadness and longing for the cat we left in the building I waswatching get progressively smaller, until, like Mr. Carino, it was gone.




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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