A short distance from our home, stood our only neighbor, a rather surly and frightful looking man. He was, as the town-folk rumored, a recluse not to be looked at, no less spoken to. Stories floated around our little town that Mr. Reynolds had never married. He lived on his own in a tired looking house, closed up with wooden shutters which desperately hung on with rusty hinges. His overgrown garden was formidably protected by a hedge of thorns, as hard and callous and threatening as Mr. Reynolds himself.
On winter mornings, when the frost would cover the ground outside, the sun would force her way through the little window in our kitchen. I would climb onto the counter top, rest my back against the paint-peeled wall, and turn into a sun-lizard, soaking up the warmth that defied the icy cold outside. It would not be long that I would drift into a deep sleep, comforted by the sun’s warm smile.
“I’ve told you time and time again, DeDee. You do not sit on the kitchen counters,” Mother’s stern voice scolded.
I jolted awake, “Sorry, Mother.” That’s all I could muster up at that moment. I slipped off the counter top, but reluctant to leave my sunny heaven, I lingered there a little longer.
“What are your plans today, Mother?” I already knew the answer. Mother worked hard to support us, often having to keep two or three jobs just to bring food to the table. The dark rings that caressed Mother’s sunken and tired eyes made me sad.
“DeDee, you know I have to go into the office. Please do a little more around the house today, other than play with that ridiculous Ouija Board. I don’t like the way it feeds your imagination. I am sure all this nonsense of wanting a monkey only started when you became so engrossed in that idiotic game.”
You see, that is where Mother was wrong. Firstly, the Ouija Board was my desperate attempt to find companionship. Secondly, if Mother had paid any attention to my pleas, she would have known that I had been begging her for a monkey for many, many weeks.
It was one cold winter morning while sitting in my sunny heaven in the kitchen, that I happened to look out the frosted window in the direction of Mr. Reynolds' house. In the distance, I could vaguely make out the thickly-set dark figure of a man pushing against the icy wind. It appeared as though he was protecting something under his coat. As he stumbled up the cobbled road that led to Mr. Reynolds' garden gate, I allowed my imagination to fill in the missing pieces.
He is sheltering a puppy... I imagined, possibly a little Cocker Spaniel. I had always found those little dogs amusing. I once saw an old lady pretending to throw a ball into the long grass. All I could see were these two long ears flapping frantically as the short little dog bounced up and down chasing the invisible ball.
No, it must be a kitten, or at a push, maybe it is a bunny.
Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw being ripped from under the jacket and thrust into Mr. Reynolds' hands. It wriggled; it fought desperately to run free, only to be yanked back by the leash that chained it to its anchor. From our kitchen window, I was sure that this was no ordinary pet, the ones that the children at our school so often would brag about. “My mom bought me a puppy!” I wanted to tell them all to shut up! I knew that I would never have the luxury of owning a pet. Mother would never allow me to have one.
No, what that man had under his jacket was not a puppy. It was a baby monkey! That was the moment when I knew that no Sasha, nor Kita, and certainly no Ouija Board, could ever satisfy the yearning that seemed to eat away at my soul. My arms longed to cradle that baby monkey. My cheek tingled at the thought of caressing its soft gray fur. My heart whispered gently, “This little creature will fill your soul.”
Excerpted from "The Whispering of My heart" by Petite Breaux. Copyright © 2016 by Petite Breaux. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.