The two women sit on the porch swinging, sipping lemonade and talking in low tones. The type of low tones reserved for talking about illness or “adult” matters in front of children. You know the tones, that are just a step above spelling the words out or not talking about the subject at all.

          In the yard a little girl is playing with a kitten.

          “He was a domestic terrorist.” One woman leans in and says to the other in that secret tone. “The explosions he made destroyed his life and the lives of all those around him. He was a bomb ready to go off at the slightest thing. He always had that type of repressed and depressed anger in him. I lived in terror, the terror he created, the terror that spread through the whole family and beyond lives like a disease or a mushroom cloud. Yes, like a mushroom cloud nuking all my hopes, dreams, and youth.”

          “You are so lucky he's gone away. He was never any good for you. He's that other woman’s problem now.” The other woman says in that hush tone. “You can do so much better.”

          “I know but it still hurts. It still feels like I've failed.” She gasps out a tear that breaks through the tone. “I thought I could have made him better, made him happy, made him stop yelling, made him stop hitting, make him stop hurting us, make him stop hurting.”

          The little girl pets the kitten softly in the yard; whispering her own secrets in its ear.

          “You didn’t fail. He was never any good. There was nothing you could do." Says the other woman as she puts her arm around her friend. “And you got a beautiful daughter out of the deal.” She says in a more positive manner, but still in the tone.

          “I ‘m blessed that way. But I worry about how she will turn out with all that she's seen so far.” The woman says teary eyed in that dark secret tone.

          “The little girl looks up to see what the adults are doing. She stumbles and falls, as she tries to get up off the ground. She stumbles and falls on to the kitty. The cat meows and hisses. The cat meows, hisses and runs under the house. The little girl follows.

          “You have to be strong for her. You can raise her up right. The both of you will be fine.” The other woman says in the tone, but reassuringly.

          “I just worry about her being cursed. She has my ‘try to fix the problem no matter what” gene and if she has his mood, his emotions, his disease, his terror...” She cries softly and secretly.

          The little girl softly cries out “Here, kitty- kitty. I’m sorry, I hurt you.” as the cat hisses out in the darkness, hisses out from under the house.

          “You will raise her right and she won’t be like him. She isn’t like him.” The other woman says in the tone that says it all, but reveals nothing.

          “But she has seen so much. It has been so .... you know, for all of her life. That has to have some effect on her and how she grow up.” She says in that tone says nothing, but tells it all. “She will most likely end up with a domestic terrorist of her own. I don’t want her to get hurt, like I was.”

          The little girl looks under the house and calls out to the hissing kitty. “Come here kitty. I just want to pet you.“ The little girl sticks her hand under the house and the kitten scratches her. The little girl pulls back her arm and stares at the mark. The kitten hisses.

          She drinks her lemonade and says in a tone dark, deep, reserved for un-wished things. “What if she has his anger. What if...” She rings her hands and looks at the little girl in the yard. “She has seen so much. She is very emotional. She has his.... blood.”

          The little girl with the bloody mark on her hand calls out for the kitten in dark, under the house. The kitten hisses, as the little girl calls out; and as the kitten hisses, the little girl cries softly and secretly.


Melinda Adams was born in New Orleans and moved to San Francisco, when she was 18.  She is a pagan, patron of the arts, and plans shows for, assists, meddles in the lives of, and cast spells for many Bay Area artists.   She normally writes under the name Lily Cattail and has had writing up regularly in insidebay.com, the San Francisco Reader,  and cherrybleeds.com.  She has additionally written for various other zines, web sites, Me!dea Magazine, and the Nose. Also, she has her own web site lilycat.com, which is an artist resource.   Recently she has gone through a literary self help therapy, and would to thank all the folks that have helped her intentionally and accidentally along the  way.   Finally she says “goddess bless and kisses to you all.
PS. Sorry Mr. Kittyfeet.

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