Amazing Kids! Magazine


By Sara Malott, age 15


I opened the book, and out slipped the photograph. It was of my momma. She was wearing red cat-eye glasses and heels that could cut stone. There was a man next to her. His hair slicked back with so much gel you could swim in it. A tear slid down my cheek as I closed up her old hymnal and slid it back on the shelf. It had been sixth months since the funeral. I still choked up at the sound of her name. My brothers and I had finally decided to go through her monstrosity of a house. Say what you want about Momma, but there was no denying that she was a hoarder. It was a battle to even open the door. Boxes upon boxes lined the walls of our old home. So much stuff. Last week a box fell on top of Jeremy, the oldest, and come to find out it was filled to the brim with salt and pepper shakers. One by one, we had to go through, seeing which matched, which were broken, and which could be sold. There was this one set of cows that was sitting on top. Momma used to always bring out the cows for the holidays. When no one was looking, I stuck them in my purse.

Now I’m sitting on Momma’s bed, staring at her bookshelf. I saw it so many times as a young girl, but now, for some reason, it looks different. I trace my fingers along the engraved flowers that weave down the sides. Momma never collected books. She always went to the library. “Waste of paper,” she’d say to me. “No need to go about killin’ all the trees.” Momma was just funny like that.

After a little while of sitting and thinking about books, my younger brother Steve comes walking in. He’s big and burly like a lumberjack. Everyone always laughs when they find out he’s a senator in Nebraska. He’s the only one who had enough gumption to move away from home.

It wasn’t ‘til I looked down at his feet that I realized he had a dog. It was a sturdy-looking bulldog. His smooshed face was enough to make you wanna die.

“What in god’s name is that, Steve?”

“His name is Rooney. He’s all yours now.”

Now I really did wanna die. I never had a dog before. Not a dog or a kid or a man. Just me and my momma and our flowers. Yes, sir, we had the most beautiful flower garden in all of Mississippi. I haven’t even thought about flowers since she passed. Not until now.

“And what do you expect me to do with a dog?”

“Well, Lara, you’re so sad all the time. You don’t talk to nobody or go any place. I was starting to get worried about you. People ‘round town’s been asking about you. I just tell ‘em you’re healing. That’s all I can say to ‘em, Lara, is that you’re healing. I’m not so sure that’s even true. Are you getting any better?”

“You don’t need to pay any mind to how I’m doing. I can handle myself just fine.”

“All right. If that’s what you want. But I really think you should keep the dog. He’ll keep you company.”


He gave a half smile, left the room, and shut the door behind him. I looked at the dog. I wanted to feel something for him, but I didn’t. Not a thing.

I got up and opened a window. The dog followed me to the side of the room. I picked him up and sat him outside on the ledge. Then I shut the window swiftly before he could come back in. He cocked his head and looked at me with that little smooshed face. Then, as if we had an understanding, he stood himself up and waddled away.

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