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.
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.