This is overdue, but certainly not too late! 😉 Here is Chapter 4 of Renewing Hope. Feel free to share your thoughts!
Friday morning, I trudged down the stairs rubbing my eyes open. I tightened the belt of the thin robe wrapped around my waist. My feet met the icy tile in the kitchen. Shivers hurried up my spine. I should have worn my fuzzy robe and slippers. The temperature must have dropped last night…I was surprised to find Mom awake and dressed in her scrubs.
“Are you going to work today?” My eyebrows drew together.
Mom glanced upwards from pouring herself a cup of coffee. “Hi, honey. Yes, I am going to work. I’d better hurry or I’ll be late.”
I yawned, “I thought you were on vacation?”
She looked amused. “I’ve been off for two weeks.”
“Oh, has it been that long?”
“Mm hm.” She took a sip of coffee, “This is not hot enough.” Mom said to herself more than anyone else. She placed the mug of coffee into the microwave, hitting the start button.
I leaned against the counter. “It doesn’t feel like it has been two weeks.”
Mom smiled, “Vacation days always go by faster than regular days.”
“Very, true.” I walked over to the cupboard and grabbed a cereal bowl. “When will you be home?”
“I’m working later, so I’ll be home at nine. Eat dinner without me.”
“Okay, but I’ll save some food for you.”
“Sounds good! I have to go. Bye.” Mom’s arms wrapped around my shoulders for a heartbeat. Then she was gone.
I stood there, staring off into space. It was going to be weird not having Mom home every second of every day. My eyes felt heavy, and I attempted to rub them awake.
“Oh, and I forgot to tell you…”
I jumped in my seat.
Mom popped her head back into the kitchen, “at about twelve o’clock Stephen is going to drop off a book for me-from Mary.”
“Yes, see you later!”
Mom’s voice echoed throughout the house. I stared off into oblivion. Stephen is coming at twelve to drop off a book. My brain clicked. Stephen is coming over at twelve! Uh oh! I leapt up and glanced at my watch; it was only nine. Giving a sigh of relief, I sank back down into the bar stool. There was plenty of time to get ready.
After eating my cereal and running upstairs, I serveyied my room and knew it needed some major cleaning.
Music lilted from my radio, as the broom sashayed and danced with me across the room. Tugging the curtains open, dazzling sunlight streamed onto the floor. With it, warmness cascaded over the scene, asking one to look upon its beauty. For some reason cleaning always put me in a good mood. Next, I went to my desk, and cleared everything off, cleaning it with dusting spray. All my art supplies were placed into their proper containers.
Later, with my legs stretched out in front of me, I leaned back lazily on a blanket. The long grass tickled my bare toes. The breeze made it sway. Tipping my head backwards, the sun kissed my face, and white clouds sailed overhead. Flying on the wind sounded thrilling.
I opened my eyes. Such a noise certainly had not come from my throat. It came again; a loud meow. Rising to my feet, my gaze roamed around the backyard.
“Here kitty kitty…Here kitty kitty?” I tromped around on the grass, listening. “Where are you?”
The insistent meow came again accompanied by a small black body stumbling along the fence. I crept closer. A raven kitten with one white ear crouched low, like it was ready to attack. It’s blue eyes stared at me. It’s hair stood straight up, despite its obvious trembling.
“Where did you come from, little guy?” I gently rubbed its back. A quiet purr emanated from the kittens throat, seeming to relax. It rubbed against my leg. You’re so adorable. I scooped up the kitten and held it close to my chest.
“The main question is how did you get here?” Our fence was tall, standing at least six feet high and there weren’t any cracks or holes. The ambitious creature must have climbed it.
A heard a ringing sound coming from the inside the house. Oh! That’s the door! Stephen! I rushed through the back door and sprinted through the house. The doorbell rang again.
“I’m coming!” My socks slid across the floor. No, no! I caught my balance just before I fell over. The cat let out an offended screech and clawed my arm. “Hey, ow! Watch where you put your claws…” I reached the front door and opened it, catching my breath and blinking.
Stephen stood at the door. One muscular arm rested in his jeaned pockets, while the other held the book. He sported a pair of thin wire-rimmed glasses. “Hi,” He said, breaking the silence. A slight smile tipped his lips into a very handsome curve. “Here’s the book your Mom wanted.”
“Thank you. I’m sorry, you had to wait.” Warmth climbed up my face. “Blame my clumsiness.” I said with lightheadedness, trying to cover my embarrassment. “I’m not the most graceful person in the world.”
He laughed. “No worries. I bet your clumsiness doesn’t even compare to mine.” He gave me a knowing look.
“Mm. Don’t be so sure…You didn’t witness what I did in art class…
Something flickered in his eyes.
Time to change the subject. “I almost didn’t recognize you with your glasses on.”
“Oh, those.” He took off the glasses and shoved them into one of his pants pockets. “I just have to wear them for driving. Here is the book your mom wanted.” He extended his hand.
I shifted the cat in my arms. Please don’t claw me. “Thanks.”
“And who is this?” Stephen scratched the kitten’s head.
“I actually don’t know.”
Stephen took his eyes off the kitten. “He doesn’t have a name?”
“Well, no. But I mean, I don’t know where he came from. Or if it is a he…I just found it in our backyard.”
“Oh. Do you mind if I hold it?”
“Sure.” I handed over the kitten.
”It is a he.” Stephen sent me a wink. Then went to petting him, the cat purring in his arms. “Well, he seems awfully friendly to be wild.”
“Yeah. He must have escaped from a neighbor’s yard or something. He seems to like you.” “He does.” Stephen grinned down, like he was sharing a secret with the little creature. He grimaced. “Well, I should go. I have a college class to attend in half an hour.”
“Oh. What kind of class is it? Are you catching up on some schoolwork?”
He rolled his eyes. “More like getting ahead. My Dad wants me to take a ministry class to ‘prepare for seminary’. But I don’t really want to take it. I don’t want to be a pastor.” His eyes widened. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say that. I’m just frustrated.” He ran a hand through his hair.
“It’s okay to be frustrated. It’s pretty natural.”
He seemed to ease. “Thanks…Well anyway I should be going.”
Stephen handed the feline back to me. “We don’t have any kittens,” he added, “just one lazy cat, and a hyper dog who doesn’t like being by herself. Count yourself lucky!”
I laughed, “But your house sounds like so much fun.”
“Yep, it is.” Stephen chuckled, moving down the steps. “Okay see you uh…sometime.” He waved at me and stumbled on the way to his car.
I waved as he pulled out of the driveway and closed the door. I leaned against it, looking at the kitten. “What do you think? He’s nice wouldn’t you say?” The kitten rubbed his head against my hand. “I’ll take that as a yes.” I kissed his head. “Even though you won’t be here for long, we should give you a name. How about Oliver? Doesn’t it sound fitting?”
It appeared he liked the idea, as he snuggled into my arms.
“Oliver it is.” I smiled. “Wait until Mom sees you. Won’t she be surprised.”
I slouched at our kitchen table, colored pencils spilled out and the bucket of roses standing in front of me. Oliver lay curled up in my lap, while eyes drooped, and purring noises thundered from his throat.
A gust of wind blew into the kitchen and Mom appeared in the doorway, following on its heels.
“Hi Mom.” Wait until you hear about the kitten!
“Hi, honey.” Mom placed her purse on the table. “What did you make for dinner?” She rubbed her forehead and yawned.
I set my pencil down. “Tacos. But I overcooked the meat, a little. I’m sorry.”
“As long as you made some food, I’m happy.” She trudged to the stove and slid the lid off the pot. “How was your day?”
“It was good. I cleaned up my room, Stephen dropped off the book…”
“That’s nice.” Mom set her plate on the table, and spread a napkin on her lap. “This looks good. I’m hungry.”
“Meow,” Oliver moaned.
Mom jolted a little. “What was that?”
My hand caught the kitten from jumping off my lap. “I was going to tell you about that.”
Mom’s eyebrows climbed her forehead. “Hope Elizabeth Atwood, is there a cat in this house?”
“Yes?!” I lifted Oliver up, and showed him to Mom.
Her mouth dropped open and her eyes widened. “Hope!” Her voice rose, “where did this kitten come from?!”
“You don’t have to get upset.”
“I don’t have to get upset? I’ve been working all day and come home to find a cat in my house? A cat who needs cat food and a litter box, which we do not have. I think that is a good reason to be frustrated.” She blinked and massaged her forehead.
“I’m sorry, Mom.” I reached for her hand. “I was so excited that I didn’t really think about those things.”
She squeezed my hand. “It’s okay. I’m just tired. It was a long day.”
“Did anything happen?” Oliver shifted in my arms.
“Oh, I just had a hard patient.”
“Thus, the hard day…”
“Yeah, but I’m home now,” she sighed, and leaned forward to ruffle Oliver’s fur. “He is pretty cute. I like his white ear. Where did he come from?”
“The backyard. He must have climbed the fence. I’m guessing he’s one of our neighbors’ cats.”
Mom smiled. “Did you give him a name?”
How did she know? “He isn’t our cat.”
She nodded. “I know, but did you give him a name?” She picked up her taco and took a bite. Her eyebrows rose in enquiry.
“His name’s Oliver.”
“Oliver…I like it. How is your picture coming?”
I glanced down at my drawing. A little round table stood in the middle of the picture, with a bucket of roses sitting on top. To my enjoyment the roses looked in proportion and real. “Good. I think. The roses aren’t colored yet, but they look decent. I just need to make sure they are varius shades.”
Mom lips lifted at the corners, as she gazed down at the paper. “Yes, it looks very good! The other picture you drew was beautiful, but this one is more realistic. Good job, honey!”
I beamed. “Thanks, Mom.”
“Well, I think I’m going to bed.” Mom stood up and threw her paper plate in the trash. “Where is Oliver going to sleep?”
“With me.” I snuggled him close. Ah, he is so soft.
Mom grimaced. “What if he has to, you know, go outside?”
“Oh,” my hands stilled, “right.”
“We have some empty boxes in the garage. You could put some newspaper, and an old towel in one” She yawned again. “I’m sorry, but I can’t stay up any longer. I’m so tired.”
Standing up, I set Oliver on the floor. “Good night.” I gave her a hug.
“Night. Can you lock all the doors and turn off the lights?”
“Thanks.” Mom put a hand on my shoulder, then walked out of the kitchen.
“Oliver are you ready to go to sleep?” I glanced down. “Where’d he go?” My gaze encompassed the room, and there was no trace of the little black body. Oh, no. “Oliver?” Where are you? A loud screech met my ears. I made a beeline to the garage door and laughed. Half of Oliver’s body stuck out of the doggie door, and he squirmed for dear life. Another screech of terror escaped his mouth before I rescued him. Gently, I pulled him out and he clawed me again. I set him down. “Hey, you’re not supposed to hurt the rescuer.” He gave an offended meow, his fur standing upright- like it had been rubbed by a balloon. If no one claims him, this is bound to be an adventure.
Let God take you on unexpected adventures today!