Writing 101: Day 18 – Mrs. Pauley’s Inclusion Principle

I remember seeing Mrs. Pauley the very first day I arrived on Autumn Avenue. It was all new to me –  the people, the houses, the trees, the animals. Feels like an eternity ago, but the memory of the warm smile on her lips, the curiosity in her eyes as soon as she laid her eyes on me is still etched strongly in my mind. I guess there are somethings you can never forget in life, no matter the amount of time that passes by.

Even though I loved my new home, my heart always wanted to visit Mrs. Pauley! Her house was smaller than ours but looked so welcoming! Mrs. Pauley loved baking and the wonderful smells from her kitchen wafted across the street towards us, making me drool. And it used to be so full of people back then too. Mr. Pauley, her husband, was always in bed though, and I often wondered at the coincidence of him deciding to take a nap every time I visit!! But oh my! What a fun time it had been, playing with her six boys. They all loved having me around, and I loved having all that attention! And did I mention that Mrs. Pauley made killer Butter Cookies?  Mum’s had never been as good as hers.

Then one day I saw a lot of strangers visiting her house. Mr. Pauley had died, I overheard Mom say. I felt sad. Even more so since I never got to interact with him at all. But life went on. And through each passing year, I saw one less boy in the house. I caught the sadness in her eyes but she was quick to cover it up. The warm smile returned every time she saw me. She would take care of me like her own son, always making sure she had a cookie or something for me. Sometimes I really did miss her when I was home at night. Mum was awesome too, but Mrs. Pauley was simply nicer!

And today, as I sit on our front porch eagerly waiting for Mrs. Pauley to open her door, I see a police car pull into her driveway. Two people step out (one her landlord and the other a policeman) and ring the bell. The door opens and there she is!! But why does she look a bit different today? Her hair was crooked, her glasses askew and she was still in her pajamas. They go in and she closes the door behind her. I wait frantically for several minutes until the door opens again and the two men step out and leave in their car. This time Mrs. Pauley looked really really distraught and I was totally worried for her. Luckily, she spots me and beckons me to come over.

For the first time, she doesn’t smile when she sees me. Instead, she sits next to me and says, ‘The time has finally come, Tom. I’m gonna have to vacate this house in a week as I cannot pay rent.‘ She gives the Rose plants in her garden a wistful look, ‘I wish Andrew was here.’

Something tightens inside me. I want to tell her that everything’s gonna be fine. That help will come in some form. And that every one loves her so much that we won’t let this happen. But of course, I can’t say all these to her. So I rest my head on her lap while she strokes my fur.

Good dog, Tommy,‘ she says. I can sense that the smile was back again.


Today’s prompt:

The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.

Writing 101: Day 13 – When Winnie Met Us

Hello, folks! I know this is supposed to be a “serially” post to pick up from where we left off from Day 4. But what I wrote on that day (on losing my faith), left me few options as to how I would continue it in a “found” context.  And anyway, that would be too boring for ya’ll to read. So today I chose to focus on a better thing – of finding love! Don’t worry, this is not a story of my romantic love, it’s something much better – the purest, most unconditional love you’ll find anywhere. It’s our pet dog.

*Drum roll please*

Presenting, the one and only – WINNIE, the diva! 

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To start at the beginning, we literally found her. Very cliched, probably, but we did find her on a rainy night – alone straddled next to a garbage can. She was only a couple of weeks old by then, a tiny puppy with a confused face. You would have definitely missed her if she hadn’t been wailing continuously. She’s got black fur on her back so she blended nicely into that starless night.

It was my brother who actually dared to bring her back home, because out parents up until then weren’t very favorable of having pets inside the house. But it really rained pretty hard that day, so even though mum and dad weren’t very happy with it, they let her stay for that night. Me and my siblings were overjoyed to have such a cutie-pie in our hands. (Really, I wish I had photos of when she was younger to show you, but she was simply a ball of cuteness overload). She isn’t even of a fancy pedigree breed, she’s just a street dog (they’re called Indian Native Dogs). But it didn’t matter to us. So anyway, the night passes, the next morning had been nice and sunny and clear. We were still clutching on to her, playing with her, feeding her milk – but mum had already had a disapproving expression on her face. Dad was ambivalent. He didn’t know whose side to take.

To cut the long story short, we did succeed in getting her to stay with us for a couple more days. She was very frail and starved that we couldn’t just let her go. She was pretty scared of us at first, too, and always hid under the bed unless she was being fed. But slowly, a lot of things changed. She took to us, Mum started to like her, Dad started to take her on walks, and each one of us were pretty overwhelmed with the kind of love that was being showered on us. Two days became a week. A week became a month. I had the honors of naming her Winnie, finally (after a string of failed Indian girlie names). Eight years later, she’s still rocking our world every moment!

Winnie is the ultimate mistress of panache, the brand ambassador of oomph. She’s probably not the brightest dog around (still doesn’t know how to fetch!), but is she amazing! We have finally decided that you cannot have a single bad photograph of her.

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They see me glancing, they deciphering…

It wasn’t very easy of course. It had been our first time experience with a pet and we were surprised by how much care they actually need. Getting her vaccinated was the worst. Like all little babies, she was terrified of syringes. She loved riding in the car though, with her head held out the window, taking in the wind and barking gleefully at stranger folk, but the moment we approached the veterinary hospital, she used to duck under the car seat (Dogs have a way of sensing these things, I suppose). But you gotta do what you gotta do; we were sorry for her, the way she used to wail when we constricted her forcefully on the hospital bed for getting the vaccination done. She’s still the same, the fear of syringes has never really left her.

When I look back, it feels almost impossible to imagine these past years without Winnie. She became the center of attraction and the topic of discussion almost every single day. She loves when people surround her and hates when people fight in front of her. And inevitably, she brought our family a bit closer together.

Here’s a little photo gallery!

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Her favorite vantage point!
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Oooh! Whadcha doin!
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Winnie in winter!
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Just thinking…dog things…
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When she finally became a Mother!!