Light streaming through an opening in the curtain disturbs my slumber. I crack one eye halfway open. Closing it again, I slowly lift my head. Momentarily, I open both eyes half way. Stretching my upper body into an upward arch, after a pause, I immediately lay back down, allowing one arm to dangle off the side of my bed. The room is getting lighter now. I’m fully awake. Turning slowly, I hear the familiar rustling coming from the kitchen. Taking another deep breath through my nostrils, I anticipate breakfast. The refrigerator slams shut, putting me on high alert. Sudden moves and loud noises alarm me. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. The familiar sound of footsteps, and here comes my food. It’s set down gently nearby. I turn my head to see the beautiful fresh platter waiting for me. I slowly back down from my perch. I don’t like to be rushed in the morning, but I do love my breakfast. It’s what I wake up for, it’s what I live for. Standing over my plate, I get comfortable, and begin to eat with deliberation. I pause to savor, with the occasional uncontrollable moment of gusto taking over.

How did it all start? Do I remember? I recall, when I was very young, I had a friend. We lived together until he got sick. One day I woke, and he was gone. I felt sad, and very alone. Those were the dark days. Life was a dull blur. Finally, we moved. There was a dog, and a small hamster. Even when they teased me, I enjoyed the attention. We played and sometimes I would surprise them with my stealth attacks. But it wasn’t very long before we moved again. Here we had tv. I liked tv. I especially loved watching the soap operas, and daytime talk shows. The drama intrigued me, and I was mesmerized by the giant faces full of rage and anguish. Every day was the same for me, waking eating, resting, but now I had tv.

Until one day someone new came along. I heard a female voice and laughter. Music started to play, and I felt a caress. Before I knew it, I was out on a balcony in the sun. I thought I was in heaven. Warm rays gave me energy and I felt so content. A bit later I was bathed, and wrapped up like a baby in a soft towel. Once again, I was brought to a place where sun warmed my skin. I felt refreshed and relaxed by the time I was back inside. The tv turned off. I slowly climbed back to my warm cozy spot and the lights went out.

Every day went on like this, albeit the bath and balcony(sunbathing) only happened once a week. The female voice would sing to me and gently caress me. I would sit on the sofa next to the warmth of her body. I began to feel a part of something bigger. I began to feel loved and cared for.

The first time it happened, I hid in the corner. His voice escalated. He loomed over the woman on the sofa. He leaned in towards her, and she shrunk away. I was scared. I stayed very still, as my heart raced faster and faster. The woman somehow managed to get up. Now she stood face to face with the man. He grabbed her arm, but she tore away and headed to the door. Slam! After it shut, he continued to yell. He hit the wall behind me.  My worldshook. I shut my eyes tightly and hoped he’d disappear. 

I heard the man cursing, and watched him sink back onto the sofa, head in hands. He stayed like that for a few moments, then he sat up, pulled the talking box out. I watched him as his thumbs moved swiftly back and forth. Shortly after, a smile transformed the scowling face. After a pause, he seemed to almost laugh out loud. Suddenly there was a loud ring. His face twisted back into a scowl. He yelled into the box “Fucking bitch! Fuck you.” I sat still. Perplexed. I watched as the man smiled smugly to himself. He got up, looked into the mirror and fixed his hair. He took off his t-shirt, admiring his physique. He walked into the other room, and emerged wearing a clean shirt. I could smell something sweet and fresh. He glanced into the large mirror again. He turned, looking at me, and laughed. “You have no idea”, he said with a sneer. Then he walked away and left me. Alone. The door shut quietly this time, and I heard him skipping down the stairs.

The first time it happened, I didn’t know what to do. I woke the next morning, to light streaming through the window. It was unusually silent. I stretched and peeked through hooded lids. Slowly I eased down to my breakfast area. Nothing. Even the water was low. So hungry. I sat patiently waiting, but nobody came. I waited and waited. Nothing. I sipped some water. Finally, I went back to my bed and laid down. I fell into a daze. 

A nudge woke me. He was back. It was dark, but he insisted on waking me. I saw the silhouette of my plate of food. I was too tired to get up. I closed my eyes. He went away. 

The next morning, I woke as usual. So hungry. I ran to my plate. I gobbled up everything. I sat there, wondering if there might be more. The man walked into the room, with a woman draped around his body. She wasn’t my friend who had bathed me. This one had a high-pitched voice. She wouldn’t stop talking. She looked at me and made a screwed up face, pointed her finger towards me, and shouted out, “yuck! What the hell is that thing?!”  The man laughed and tried to pick me up. I resisted. I was tired of his games. He turned to the blonde girl with the annoying voice and pulled her top off, and dragged her back into the bedroom. I shut my eyes.

Day turned to night. Night turned to dawn.  A sharp beeping noise woke me. Finally, it stopped, a door opened, and the man stumbled into my room. He looked down at me and tapped my head for a second. Then he turned off the light and went away. I heard the refrigerator open and the familiar sound of a knife on a cutting board rhythmically chopping. I perked up to the noise, and moved slowly down towards my dining area. I like to position myself strategically, so I’m prepared when the food arrives. I waited in silence. The silence was broken by an annoying female yelling “where’s the toilet paper?”. It was theblonde girl’s voice. I heard a fast paced shuffle-shuffle-shuffle, and the man walked out of the kitchen and headeddown the hall. I heard the girl giggling, and voices trailing away. I waited. I waited. And, I waited. By now I was ravenous. Finally, I heard a door fly open and rushing feet, as a blur of clothing, hair, and bags whirred past me. The door slammed shut. 

Silence. I was shocked. The loud noise had frightened me, and now I looked and there was no food. I heard the car start up, and drive away fast. I sat still and waited. Maybe he would come back. I waited. And, I waited. I looked slowly around the room. The curtains were drawn, and thetv a dark silent rectangle. Boredom set in. Walking to the left,  my reflection startled me. I shadow boxed with little effort, and went back to my post.

I don’t know how much time passed, but at some point I heard steps approaching the door. The door quietly opened and was shut gently. I heard a familiar female voice. I raised my head to look up. She looked in at me, and noticed my empty food bowl. She stroked my chin. I smiled to myself. She would feed me. She turned and bent down to pick up something off of the floor. She looked at the baby blue scarf, taking a quick sniff, then tossed it back to the floor with disgust. I tried to smile at her.  She slowly headed for the kitchen, and I could heard her softly crying. She was getting my food now. She emerged carrying my platter. I raised my head with anticipation. Here it was, my glorious breakfast. So happy, I couldn’t control my excitement, and gobbled it all at once. I waited. She laughed. “You were hungry!”. She said, refilling my water. I was content. 

I watched her as she sat on the sofa. The tv went on, and it was one of my favorite morning shows. Ladies gabbed, and I watched their faces moving. I heard a muffled sniffing noise, and as I slowly turned to look towards the sofa, I sawmy friend curled up. She was shaking and crying. I moved towards her, as close as I could get. I stared at her. She looked over, and I just watched. I was telling her not to cry. She smiled. I watched her. I was sad too. She suddenly satup and came to lift me up. I felt the heat of her body, as she took me outside. The sun bathed us in warmth. I was happy now. She stroked my head and under my chin. I smiled to myself. As I looked at her face, I could see the trail of tears still drying. She held me tight. After a few minutes in the sun, she brought me back inside. She placed me back in my room, and walked down the hall. I could hear her throwing things, slamming drawers. She came back with a backpack, and a small bag. I was placed inside of a small bag. It was cozy and warm inside. I felt my baby blanket under my belly. Suddenly, zip zip, and it got dark inside. Now we were on the move. I heard the door being opened and carefully locked. She was very quiet. I felt we were moving very fast. A car door opened. An engine started up. I clung to my blanket for dear life. Oh, but this was exciting! For some reason I wasn’t afraid. I felt a thrill. 

Time passed. The motion stopped, and I heard the car door open. Again, we were moving ,moving, moving. I heard her breathing fast, so fast. Steps, we were going up steps. Another door unlocked. The door shut and locked behind us. The bag unzipped. Light streamed in, temporarily blinding me. I squeezed my eyes shut as I was gently lifted. I opened one eye halfway and saw her face in front of me. “We’re here.’ She said with a smile. I turned my head very slowly, opening the other eye. My vision adjusted and I saw a large room with a huge tv. I smelled food, and I felt warmth. She put me in my own room, with natural foliage and a mini waterfall. I had a view of the tv and the outdoors. A platter of snacks waited for me. I was home.

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