Down the Stairs

I run down the stairs to avoid the laughing clump behind me.

Why do groups of people have their voices all mesh together? It’s annoying. I can hear him, though, and her too.

I run down the stairs, down into a corner on the lowest level. I hope they stop on the second floor. The steps go… and go… and go… no. They’re coming down.

I look to the left, to the right, nervously, a mouse knowing that there’s a cat coming but unable to do anything. I think I can even feel my nose twitching.

And there are their feet. Like a movie, really, the camera pans upward: the feet, the knees, hips, stomach, breasts (it stops here for a second—if I’m going to be in an uncomfortable situation, I may as well have a little fun), up to the shoulders, neck, head. The laughing smile.

And the audio comes in suddenly, the conglomerate of adolescent voices forming one all-powerful. The popular crowd is a single being with semi-liberated appendages.

A mouse, did I say I was? Yes. A mouse, cowering against the wall. A mouse, deep in thought, paralyzed by headlights that have suddenly sprung from her eyes. Cats’ eyes are reflective, right? Sorta like headlights.

My eyes are black. Technically and metaphorically, it’s because they don’t reflect any light. It’s because it absorbs everything and gives nothing back.

Anyway, my eyes are black, not as catchy, but I’m a large mouse, so I’m noticed. A six-foot mouse cowering in a corner from the popular entity. Well, from a lot more than that, but it’s complicated.

“What are you doing?” he asks, smiling, laughing at the image of a large mouse with long curly hair.

I don’t answer.

“What are you doing?” Repeated. The smile is beginning to fade.

“Are you OK?” It’s gone.

And they begin to walk toward me. The cat, unbeknownst to itself, is upon me.

“What’s wrong?” It’s on me, as I slip my back down the wall and huddle myself into a crying ball.

The being and its conglomerate of voices start up again. What’s wrong, can we do anything, what happened, should I call a teacher: the cat’s claws rip me to shreds.

There’s nothing more boring to a cat than a mouse it can’t eat or play with, however, and since I don’t answer, it soon gets bored. It leaves. I am forgotten, forgotten fairly easily for most of the appendages. She remembers, maybe, but she’s not really an appendage. She’s everywhere. She’s a shiny black: absorbs everything, but reflects some. That’s the only difference between me and her, even if it is a small one that causes such a huge gap in our existences.

The mouse limps off.