Friday, September 17, 2010
Two little girls sitting on the sidewalk, playing in the dirt, decoding which are the bad ants and which are the good. As I walk up to them with Peanut in his carrying cage fresh from a birthday car ride they ask to see my cat. I tell them he isn't a cat, he is a rabbit. "Did you go camping and catch him?" the larger and pushier girl asks. No. "Did you just catch him hopping outside?" asks the other. No. They both press for me to put him down on the side walk to hop hop hop around for them to see, both poking at the front door of the cage with their grubby, filthy hands. A bug flies onto the floor of the cage. I wince. I want him inside my apartment, where there are no bugs, where it is clean, where it is home.
When I come outside an hour later, the girls are still playing. They have more friends with them and as the pushy girl walks over to me I say "You changed your shirt." She answers, "yeah, I changed my name. I'm new now." The younger boy following her asks if I am her mom, wants to know why she says her name is Rose now. "Sorry honey, I don't have any kids. Must be the game she is playing." The boy's nervous wringing hands are covered in warts. He was confused but didn't want to be without this new Rose, no matter. I watch them walk away, and new Rose tells the other kids that her mother "changed her name again too." New Rose is wearing an older woman's tan pumps that look like they have been pulled from a dumpster, a green skirt too short for her age and her mouth is dirty with 2 days of dirt and sweat. As I am leaving they decide to play hide-and-seek in the stairwell. Did they find New Rose?