“Pepper”


Sneezing, uncontrollably. I take great gulps of water to rid myself of the stuff. Next, with the neck of my shirt pulled up over my mouth to keep from breathing it in, I grab a broom and dust pan and start to sweep up the piles of pepper. The canister is empty. The brown tiger-striped cat stares at me from her perch on top of the bookcase, no remorse whatsoever in her eyes. I am mad, put out with her, but as soon as I dump the last of her pepper mess into the trash, she runs up to curl around my legs, purring and pleased. I remind myself I am still mad, but within seconds she is in my arms, nuzzling my neck. I cannot stay mad at her. I pull out a small bowl and a jug of milk from the refrigerator, and watch as she laps happily at what I’ve poured for her. I walk away to the living room, pick up a magazine, and sit on the couch to read. Soon, she is back, standing on the arm of the sofa, looking at me; with affection she nudges my shoulder, as if to say, “I’m sorry”.

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