Missing Miss Rosemary
Oh, no. She could be dead. My little dog Zoey is lying on the floor, face down, looking dirty and raggedy. I pick her up and cradle her in my arms, petting her soft brown fur, nuzzling her under my chin. One paw is hanging loosely from her front right leg. Her fur is matted and sticky. Black stripes mark her leg, as if someone has run over her. Who would do that? I think of all the bad people I know, but could they be that bad?
Zoey lies in my arms as quiet as an unborn bird, as light as a lamb’s wool. I need to get her help, find someone who can fix her.
“Don’t be afraid, little Zoey. I will find someone to help you. We will make you not hurt.”
Maybe Miss Rosemary will help. She lives three doors down from us and she always knows what to do. When my cat Mittens was sick, my mom wanted to get rid of her, because she made too much mess. So, I snuck her to Miss Rosemary’s house, and three days later, she ate and played, just like usual. Miss Rosemary could fix birds with broken wings or turtles with cracked shells.
I even went to Miss Rosemary’s when I got hurt or sick. When bumps popped on my head, from being knocked around, she would put ice packs on them. When I got hit or fell trying to get away, she would put medicine on my wounds that didn’t hurt and band aids on my cuts. If I was sick, she would take my temperature and give me baby aspirins. No one at my real house seemed to even notice if I were sick or hurt.
Aromas of cinnamon and cloves always filled her house, and, in the spring, fresh-cut flowers. She often baked fresh-baked cookies with chocolate chips that warmed your insides or nuts that made your teeth strong. My own house reeked of babies’ diapers and beer. We ate mostly beans and hot dogs, and sometimes fried eggs, if there was enough to go around.
If I can find my shoes, I can go down to her house right now. But, never mind. My slippers will do just as well. I will be careful to walk slow, so they won’t fall off. I might need my jacket in case it’s snowing. But when I open the front door, I don’t see any fluffy white stuff, so I go like I am. As I walk out the front door, I hold Zoey with both my hands and leave the door open behind me.
Even without the snow, I shiver in my little cotton dress. I hold Zoey close, so she won’t be cold. Is it winter or summer? It’s hard to tell. I can’t wait to get her to Miss Rosemary’s warm and cozy house, with its blazing fireplace and fuzzy blankets on the couches and bright, braided rugs on the floor. Three houses down. One, two, three. Here’s the third one. I stop and count again, to make sure I didn’t go too far.
“Here we are,” I tell Zoey. “Miss Rosemary will fix your foot. I promise.”
I knock softly, hoping Miss Rosemary will hear me first and not her husband. I’m a little afraid of him. He doesn’t like me as much as she does. Then I knock again a little louder and punch a button that must be the doorbell. I can hear someone coughing and muttering, scraping and pounding. Once more I knock, this time banging on the door.
“What do you want? Just a minute.” It’s a man’s voice, and it sounds more like a growl.
I wait and the man comes to the door. It’s not Miss Rosemary’s husband, but instead an old man with a wrinkled face and a bald head leaning on a walker. “Who are you?” His voice booms, like he’s talking to someone across the street and not to me.
I’m shaking inside, but I look right at him and try to speak up. He can’t keep her from me. “I’m Katie Sue. I’m looking for Miss Rosemary.”
“Who is that? The old lady died ten years ago.” He slams the door in my face, and I hear cursing from behind the door.
I hold Zoey tighter and scrunch up my face to keep from crying. “Don’t worry, Zoey. We’ll find someone else who can help.”
But who else can I ask? I want to go back to my house to think, but which is the right way? Everything looks the same. I can’t help it, but I start to cry.
“Miss Katie.” I hear someone saying my name, and I turn around. A smiling lady with a pink shirt and pants covered with little animals comes up behind me and puts her arms around me. “Are you lost? Let me show you the right way back to your room.”
Maybe I am. I nod and wipe the tears off my face. I’m glad it’s not the other mean one. This one is nicer. I hand Zoey to her and point to her damaged paw. The lady holds Zoey in front of her and examines her. “She looks like she’s been hurt. Do you want me to take her to the nurses’ station and see if we can make her better?”
“Yes. But bring her back soon.” I can’t trust some of those people up there.
“I will, honey. Don’t worry. Here’s your room right here. Let me help you get settled.” She guides me into my chair and puts a soft blanket on me. She puts a pillow behind my neck the way I like it and pours me a glass of tea with a straw.
I look up at her, and her eyes are kind. “Thank you, Miss Rosemary.”
Miss Rosemary looks at me like she has a question, but she doesn’t ask it. “You’re welcome, Miss Katie.” She pats my head and leaves the room with Zoey under her arm.