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Narrative

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Tiny Boxes My life started out in a box. For the first few weeks of my life, my world didn't consist of much except for my four siblings, my mother, and the girl whose backyard my mother had chosen to give birth to us. She seemed nice; she brought out blankets for us as soon as she heard us begin to meow. Sometimes she'd even let us inside her house, though I wasn't really too fond of that since there were always two fat chihuahuas roaming around, making the place smell like barf every chance they got. She took a liking for me, though, and she would come outside and specifically bring me in to feed me. I didn't get the need for it; my mom was already doing that but I wasn't about to make her stop either. After two weeks or so of the girl taking special care of me, I finally found out why she had been doing that. One afternoon when she had brought me in for my double meal of the day, I overheard her and this big, tubby guy talking about me. I could never see his face when he was in the room, just his curly hair that came all the way down to his shoulders. I may be a cat and all, but even I knew this guy needed a shower. “So when are they coming for him?” he asked from his computer. The girl put the bottle to my mouth, but I didn't take it, I was waiting for her response. All she said was “Soon.” That made me want to scream, it didn't tell me anything! Who was coming? And where are we going? I started meowing at her, hoping she'd understand I didn't want to go anywhere, especially without my siblings. We hadn't been sitting there for too long when I saw a car pull up through the kitchen window, and I started to get very nervous. The girl picked me up and I clawed to her shirt and burrowed my face in between her arms as we walked outside. “Hi Oliver!” Huh? Who's Oliver? I felt a new set of hands grab me and pull me into their arms, so I picked up my head to look at this new person only to find two big brown eyes looking down on me. The other girl had gone in the house and came back with my bottle, a white container, and a small box with my blanket and put them in the car. I started to panic, I didn't want to go without saying goodbye! They tried to put me in the box, but I clawed onto her shirt; I wanted to see mom before I left. My fighting was futile; they tugged me off the shirt in one motion, sat me down in the box, started the car and drove away. I was so scared, I cried the whole car ride. I had never been away from mom or any of my siblings before. We drove for what seemed like forever, I stopped seeing the city streets and began to see fields surrounding me everywhere. We finally arrived at what seemed like a small community in the middle of those fields. There were about ten blocks of houses, five on each side of the road, and all the houses looked the same. The stranger turned to look at me as we turned into one of them, and parked on the driveway: “Welcome home.”
***
It had been about two months, and I was barely getting the hang of living at this new place. I was learning so many new things so quickly! One of the first things I learned was that Oliver was in fact, me. I didn't have a name before, but I liked the sense of individuality it gave me. I decided to take in the new girl as my mom, and the other two people in the house, who later became Grandma and Grandpa, seemed to agree. Every time I did anything they didn't approve of, they would yell, “Look what your son's done!” Which leads to another thing I learned fairly quickly, I could do anything I wanted here. This was my house. I like to think of as my kingdom now, since I pretty much run the place. But like any other king, I had to earn my way to the top, which I did by walking around looking cute and scratching anyone that got in my way. You'd be surprised at how well these two things work. As I got older, Mom started letting me go outside. This is when things started getting hectic. I started off just roaming around in the backyard, but the birds kept taunting me, saying they could fly to all these cool places while I was stuck in this tiny piece of land. I got curious, so after a while I began to jump the fence and scout the neighborhood. It didn't take too long for me to figure out where it was safe for me to go and where I was better off staying away from, which was the corner house in my street. A stupid chihuahua lived there, and for some reason, him and his stupid chihuahua friends from the neighborhood all liked to hang out there. I always had to be careful on my way home or else they'd start barking at me, and if they were in the mood for it, they'd chase me down to my house. I didn't care too much, since as soon as Mom heard the barking she'd come out and spray them with the hose. But to be honest, I had started to put on some weight and all this running was leaving me out of breath. Despite all that, I began making a reputation on the streets. I had my own pack to which I was the leader, of course. Things on the streets were great, everyone loved me and looked up to me, but things at home had started to become a little odd. I'd been seeing less and less of Mom every time I came back inside, she would be gone for days, even weeks at a time and I missed her. Grandma and Grandpa were still there, but it wasn't the same, plus, every time she came back she had all these books with her and if she wasn't out with her friends, she'd be buried in them. The visits started to become less frequent, I'd be lucky if I saw her twice a month. I was never too big on feelings, but I had never felt this abandonment before and I don't think anything could feel worse. I started to spend more time out to get my mind off of her when she wasn't here, but it had become so hard for me to breathe and I didn't understand why. I also noticed that I had started to lose weight, which, at first, I thought was a good thing since I figured that was the problem but now I wasn't too sure. The pack caught on to this, and of course, turned on me. This past weekend was one my Mom's weekends, that's what I've started to call them, so I wasn't trying to leave the house too much. I would follow her around the house and pick and nice spot to lay down and watch her. I would always try my best to make it seem like it was a complete coincidence that we ended up in the same room 98% of the time. I didn't want to come off as clingy or anything. Though, for as much as I liked spending time with her, I couldn't stand being inside all day, so I decided to head out to the backyard for a little. It didn't take too long for Mr. Bud, one of the cats in the pack, to show up. A very menacing name, I know, but I knew exactly what he was here for; he wanted to dethrone me. I honestly wasn't in the mood for a fight, much less in good physical condition for one, but I couldn't go down without one. I hadn't even got up from where I was when he pounced, I felt him scratching all over my stomach and my side. I tried to scratch him back as much as I could, but he pretty much had me on the ground. We must have been really loud since Mom came out running from the house and soon as he saw her coming he scrammed. The fight hadn't even been that crazy, but it had left me pretty wounded. The panic on mom's face was so intense, and got even worse when she noticed my blood stained stomach. She picked me up as carefully as she could, though it was still painful, and hurried me inside. She laid me down on the couch and went to get Grandma, who as soon as she saw me rushed outside and came back with a handful of leaves from the front yard. She put them in a pan with water and then on the stove. After the water came to a boil, she took it off the stove and dipped a piece of cloth in it and started to clean my wounds with it. The warmth felt so calming on my wounds, but I was trying to focus on breathing and not throwing up which had become very difficult by now. After clean my wounds, they both agreed that I just needed to calm down and I’d be fine; so, I went to sleep hoping they were right. A few hours after going to sleep, I woke up feeling horrible. I got up from the couch as slowly as I could to try and drink some water, but as soon as I did, I hurled. I gave up on the water and went to sleep on the other couch. By the time Mom woke up, I wasn't feeling much better. She had already seen the throw and she was worried, so she called the vet, my enemy. I hated the guy, but this time I might need him. Mom packed up my carrier with my blanket and a green squishy toy that almost looks like a fish, put me in it and then onto the car. I hated car rides, but I managed to sleep for most of it this time. When we arrived at the vet, he was already waiting for us. He sat me down on this metal desk and began to look at me, poking this and that. It was annoying, but I was tired, so I let him do his thing. He said he didn't know why I looked so down, because these wounds were superficial and so he needed to take x-rays. Turns out that in order to take those x-rays, I'd have to spend the night here. Mom could tell that I didn't like the idea, and I could tell she didn't either. “It's for the best, I will be here tomorrow.” She said as she pet my head before leaving. Right after, the vet took me into this very dim lit room and laid me down on a glass table. After a few seconds, this square metal thing under it started moving side to side. Once it stopped, he held me on my back, and the square started moving again. Any other day I would have ran as soon as I heard the noise it made, but today, I was very tired. I think the vet noticed this because as soon as we got out of the dim room, he told his assistant to get him an IV ready. It made me feel a little weird sitting in this cage with a needle sticking through my neck, but it kind of stopped the nausea, so I took this as an opportunity to take a nap. When I woke up, I overheard the vet and his assistant talking about my x-rays, and they sounded worried. It got quiet for a few seconds; I could tell something wasn't right, and then I heard him having a one-sided conversation. My only guess was that he was on the phone. “Listen, I'm really glad you brought him as soon as you did, because I found something that's not supposed to be there.” He almost sounded apologetic as he said that. “There's a lump pushing into his lungs, it could be a hairball but I'm thinking it's a tumor. Either way I’d have to perform surgery, but I need him to get a little stronger to do that. I have him on an IV for now, I will call if anything happens.” To be honest, I wasn't very surprised. I knew I should've been freaking out right about now, I couldn't care. All I wanted was to go back to sleep, so I did. Today is Tuesday, April the 9th, and I’ve been at the vet since the weekend. My breathing is very uneven, and no matter how hard I try I can barely get any air when I try to breathe. I really don't think I will be able to make it past tonight, and I wish Mom was with me. But I've had a lot of time these past few days to think about her, Grandma and Grandpa, and be grateful that I had such a great family. My life started in a box and it is about to end in one but all the bits in between made my world so big, and so full I can't think of a more humbling way to finish this journey than exactly where it began.…...

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