Sally was precocious. Each moment to her was poignant and new. Little bundles of happiness bubbled in her and opened up like blossoms in a field of flowers. She held within her the exuberance little girls are in that age between child and woman. In her heart was joy, in her hands warmth and in her smile angels sang.
Sally lived in a small apartment with her mother. The apartment itself was handsome enough but it was on the ground floor of a very large and very tall building. Their building was right next to an even taller and bigger building. Thus the view of the outside was limited to a narrow alley.
The alley seldom saw sunlight and mostly was a damp thing of trash and refuse. It was a small finger of space between two buildings. For people on the ground floor it was also a gateway to a city full of dirt, grit and many not so nice people.
However on the stoop of their steps leading down from the alley was something very un-alley like. There just feet away from that narrow space Sally and her mother lovingly attended two very precious things. The first was a potted rose. Sally had found the rose in the strewn refuse of the alley. Sally had said that the bush probably had fallen from a window ledge. Sally was convinced it was from those noisy people upstairs. She imagined that a busy and very careless person had knocked off the poor little rose. It had fallen fshe would say from way high up to be found by Sally. She had told her mother that she bet that rose wanted to live with Sally and that is why it landed right next to their stairs.
The second was a bowl or rather the cat that owned the bowl. Sally had adopted a little kitten from the alley. It was more of small cat now and perhaps it was the cat which adopted Sally. Sally and that little cat would traipse through the alley searching and poking little noses into nooks and crannies. Sally’s mother would be horrified to know some of the things that cat and Sally had poked around in.
Sally was always finding little things in the alley that had no business being there. Indeed it was the cat who had found the bunny tucked neatly under Sally’s arm. The cat, the bunny and Sally were a trio that was not easily seperated. When Sally had brought the bunny home her mother had greeted the little cherub with a mixture of disgust and adoration. For while the bunny was dirty and smelled quite peculiar the look in Sally’s was enough to melt even the stoniest of hearts.
However a smelly bunny was another matter. So together Sally and mother scrubbed that little bunny. Sewed up little cuts and patched on brand new puffy tale. From that moment ‘bunny’ to which Sally had very uncharacteristically named the stuffed toy were inseparable. The cat feeling a bit piqued had sulked for two days but Sally was abundant in love and was attentive to the cat as much if not more than as she had been in the past. Soon the cat relented and all three were once again back in the alley snooping and searching.
Sally’s mother did not like her playing in the alley. It was dirty and sure as rain on a cloudy day Sally would require a long bath after each little adventure. And perhaps that was the reason Sally’s mother scrubbed a little extra hard during bath time after a long day in the alley playing. But each night Sally would be in bed clean as a whistle. Bunny would be snuggled tight under an arm and the cat would purr rather loudly outside curled in his little blanket on the stoop.
Each morning was promise for Sally. Promise of new discoveries and little treasures. And like a present waiting to be opened Sally would wake with eyes full of that promise. Sally would skip to the kitchen humming little tunes only children know and share breakfast with her mother. She would give some of the toast to bunny and save some milk for cat.
Every morning the cat would mew outside the door leading to the alley. There it would wait for Sally, bunny and most importantly the milk. Today however the cat was not mewing. It was raining and on rainy days sometimes the cat would go off an find someplace else to weather the storm, especially if the rain had been at it all night. Undeterred Sally went to go find her best pal, next to bunny of course. Sally opened the door. It was raining.