MISHA - A STORY ABOUT A DIFFERENT KIND OF LOVE

Submitted into Contest #9 in response to: Write a story about unrequited love.... view prompt

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Romance

Prompt: Write a story about unrequited love


Misha – a story about a different kind of love

 

By Liz Lewis

 

Things weren’t going well for us in Germany, not with the bad exchange rate that Dad was always complaining about. But somehow, he finally managed to find us a small house. They called it a cottage. “Cottage” would make it sound quite nice though, cute. This wasn’t. It was the drabbest house ever. Square, grey, with a dirty roof. The advert said “for four persons”, but it actually meant that Paul and I had to sleep on a lumpy fold-out couch in the kitchen. Together – ugh. And what was even more weird was that the shower was also in the kitchen. No jokes, in the kitchen!


I could just imagine what Lara and Cloe would say if they ever found out. Ooh, don’t even look at Ella. Did you know that she slept on a couch, a couch ha-ha, with her brother, and that the whole family had to shower in the kitchen? How gross! When we went to San Moritz, we each had a room, en suite …


But, Dad said the place was reasonable and in a pretty town, so to stop complaining. At least it had a huge field behind, with apple trees. The apples were small and hard and sour, but we checked the trees every day, climbed up and picked the ripest ones. Then we slowly ate them, pretending they were those big, red ones. We had to keep ourselves busy – somehow. I mean, there wasn’t even a radio in the place, and of course no TV.


The food was strange too. Dad had to buy stuff on his way home from the university. He would bring back jars of carrots and little potatoes, not real potatoes and carrots that you had to cook. If only Mum wasn’t sick all the time, we could have gone shopping with her. But she didn’t want to go anywhere. Not even to the little shop on the other side of the railway line. She mostly just sat in the bedroom and stared out the window. Sometimes she typed things on the typewriter.


I was bored again and went to check the apple trees. There was something bright red near the fence that I hadn’t seen before. I ran across. They were tiny little strawberries! Just there, growing in between the grass. I tried one.  It was the apple story all over again. It was hard and sour. Surely, there would be at least one that was half ripe? I was lying on my stomach, with my head pressed against the wooden slats. There were more berries on the other side, and they definitely looked better. At least one looked much better. I wriggled my arm through the gap. It was tight and the wood scraped my skin but I kept stretching.


I stretched so far that my neck got twisted sideways, and I couldn’t see, only feel for the berry. Just as I thought I had it, something wet and weird touched my fingers. The fright I got! My heart stopped completely. I pulled back so quickly, my arm nearly snapped off. But, the wet thing was still there. And it was panting. What if it was a dangerous something? I peeped around the slat. It was like being in a dream. There stood a beautiful black and white Collie. Through the crack, it looked as if it was smiling at me. It kept coming for my hand, big fluffy tail wagging.


“Hey, you!” I wriggled my fingers. It licked them. “You’re so cute! Where did you come from?” The Collie got bored with my fingers and started pouncing at other things. At the flying insects, things in the grass, whatever. It was so jolly. “Come here! I want to play with you.” I had my eye right over the gap and I could see now that it was a boy dog. I patted my hand on the ground. “Come here, boy.” He ran around like the happiest thing in the world. He made me laugh every time he jumped high, trying to catch a bug, even if there wasn’t one. “You’ll never catch anything! No way!”


Then he started chasing his tail. The long white hairs at the bottom made it look like a huge feather duster. Swish, swish. “Come here, boy.” He pounced at my hand again. I stroked him a little but soon he was running off after another bug. I did see his bright green collar though. That was lucky, because his name was written on it in black letters. MISHA. What a nice name! One day when I had a dog I would definitely call it that.


“Here. Come Misha!” Then I realised. “Komm her Misha! Komm!” He would be a German dog. He spun around and came towards me. “Komm, doggie. Misha!” He put his pretty face in the gap. “Hallo!” He sniffed my face. In that moment I knew. I wanted to be his best friend, forever, and I had to make him like me. Like me a lot, so that he would run to the fence every day, looking for me.


Warte.” Wait. No, maybe ... “Bleib Misha – stay, boy.” He stayed. I got up and ran towards the house. “Bleib!” I looked back, he was still there. “Bleib!”


Paul was in the kitchen. He looked at me and I could see he knew something was up. “I’m starving,” I panted. “If I don’t eat something now, I’ll die!” I yanked open the fridge and grabbed the big salami.


“You can’t take that!”


“Shh, don’t tell Mum. I’ll bring some back for you! Just wait here. I have a surprise for you.” Not that I’d ever tell him about Misha. Never. “You must wait. It’s important. Promise?”


“What kind of surprise?”


“You’ll see. Just wait here. Otherwise, it won’t work.” Looking over my shoulder to see that Paul wasn’t following, I raced back to the fence. In one go, I fell down in the grass and pressed my face against the slats. He was gone.


I rolled on my back, so I could reach further and shoved the piece of salami through the crack. “Komm her! Misha, komm her! I’ve got something nice for you.” I waited and waited. I whacked the salami on the ground, slowly then fast, fast then slowly. “Ko-o-omm her! Mi-i-sha.”


“And what the hell are you doing?”


I nearly jumped out of my skin. “I told you – don’t come! Now you’ve scared it away, asshole.”


“Scared what away? And you’re not allowed to say asshole.”


“A … a … squirrel.”


“Squirrels don’t eat salami. You’re lying and I’m gonna tell Mum … right now, if you don’t tell me the secret.” I hated Paul.


“Sometimes squirrels do eat salami. Anyway, I joked about the squirrel, it was a mouse. Really cute, with … with pink ears and so. I thought maybe I could catch it and show you.” Nosey parker Paul bent down to look through the crack, but I held the salami in front of it. “Hey, did you see those?” I showed him the strawberries further down. “Look there. I think those far ones are a little riper.”


I made sure I trampled all the strawberries near the gap. Paul mustn’t go any closer. What if Misha came back now? Paul would definitely ruin everything. Misha was going to be my friend, and my friend only, no matter what.


“These are rubbish. They taste terrible.”


“Then they’re not ripe. We’ll have to leave them for a long time. I think, maybe two weeks.”


“How do you know?”


“You can see they’re small and half green, dummy. They’ll take a long time to get ripe.”


“I’m not a dummy! You are! You don’t really know how long it will take. You’re just saying it. And you took the whole salami to catch one mouse! That’s really dumb, even for a dumbo!”


 “And you’re so dumb, you don’t know the difference between a ripe strawberry and one that isn’t. So there …” I had to distract Paul from the salami, and above all, from the fence. “Come let’s go back. If you want, I’ll ask Mum if we can make pancakes.”


As we walked back I tried to take a glimpse at the gap in case Misha had come back. It didn’t look like it. I wished I hadn’t gone to fetch that stupid salami. But how else could I make him really like me?


Uh-uh, Mum was in the kitchen when we got back! Luckily her back was towards the fridge. I gave Paul my scariest look and put a finger on my lips. Then I shoved him in front of me.


“Mum, can we make pancakes? Paul is hungry.” I was at the fridge in a flash and pulled open the door. “We have everything. There are still plenty of eggs too.” I slipped the salami back inside.


Mum wrinkled her brow. Paul and I held our breaths. Paul, because of the pancakes, and me because I wanted to get to the fridge without looking suspicious. Mum pushed back her hair and curled it behind her ear. She took her time all right, but finally she said the magic word, “OK … but only if you wash up nicely afterwards.”


We shouted at the same time, “Promise! Thanks Mum!”


“Mum, must I make you one too?”


She smiled and her fingers fluttered over my cheek. It reminded me of the little nudges Misha gave me when he was inspecting my face. “No thanks, Ellie. I’m not hungry.”


We set to work. I mixed everything together and then Paul had to stir. “Hey, there are still lumps, you must stir some more.”


“I’ve done all the stirring. My hand is tired.”


“Do you want pancakes or not?” Paul was not allowed to work at the stove, so we had a rule that the stirring was his job. “Stir!” When he wasn’t looking, I had my chance.


“What are you doing in the fridge?”


“Getting fresh butter, dummy. Someone put it right at the back.” I got the butter, but also managed to slice off a chunk of salami. I shoved into my pocket. “Ok, just a little more, then it will be fine.”


“No-o-o! My arm is too tired.”


“Stop being a sissy! I’m going to the loo, and when I come back, it must be perfect, or I’m not making the pancakes. I’m not gonna waste time with lumpy batter.” He wailed something else, but I was already outside the door.

Instead of turning right, I turned left and slipped out the front door. I had to go around the back of the house so Paul couldn’t see me from the kitchen window. But, this way, I had to go past the bedroom window. I ducked low and sneaked past.


I made it to the gap and pushed my forehead against the slats. “Misha! Where are you, my boy?” I listened. Nothing. “Misha. Misha komm!” He wasn’t there. I pushed the piece of salami through the fence and put it down on the other side, just a little way from the gap. “Look what I got you. I’ll bring more tomorrow. Oh, please come!”



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I couldn’t sleep. I rolled around thinking of ways to get Misha to come to the fence. I could almost feel his silky coat under my fingertips, and see that cute face, ears back, and his head turned sideways to look at me. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I buried my head in the pillow and pretended we were rolling around in the grass and I had my face pushed into his fluffy chest. I imagined we were best friends and he was always with me. How happy my life would be! I would never, ever be sad or lonely. Never!


At last it was morning. I got up extra early and sneaked out. The salami was gone! “Misha, Misha. Komm her.” I didn’t have any hope. But then … I was sure it was a miracle … he was there! The happiness exploded inside my head. He bounced around, and sniffed my fingers. Why-oh-why hadn’t I brought more salami? “I’ll bring you another piece after school, you hear?” I tried to stroke him, but he was all over the place.


“Ellie! Where are you?”


“I’m here Dad. I just wanted to see if some of the strawberries are ripe.”


“Well, there’s no time for that now. Come and eat your breakfast.”


I whispered through the gap, “Misha, I’m so sorry boy, I have to go. Please, please be here this afternoon.” He came up and gave me a little lick on the nose. I got my hand into his mane and ruffled it. It was the most beautiful thing. His hair was so soft and warm. “Oh, Misha, I love you, boy. Forever and ever.”


“Ellie!”


“Coming! Bye-bye adorable Misha, see you later! Please be here. Bitte!”


That day at school I drew a picture of Misha. I was quite proud of it. I told Heiko, “I’m going to get a dog like this! A Collie, with a big fluffy tail. His name will be Misha.”


He shrugged. “You said your dad didn’t allow you to have dogs.”


“He’s changed his mind. It will be for my next birthday.”


“I have two dogs.” He was just jealous.


We always walked home from school, but today Dad was waiting for us in the car. He had never done that. I prayed that no one saw it was our Dad in that old station wagon. I jumped in and ducked down.


Paul yelled at the top of his voice, “Wow, Dad. It’s so nice that you’re fetching us!” If only he would stop shouting for everyone to hear.


“Paul! Stop shouting. Hi, Dad.” Then I saw Dad’s face. It made me scared. His mouth was like a small thin line across his face, and I could see the pointy bits of his jaw from the way he was biting on his teeth. “What’s wrong, Dad?”


“We are leaving. Going back home.” His voice sounded strange, like he could hardly say the words.


Paul started jumping up and down like a lunatic. “Yippee-yippee-yay! Yippee-yippee-yay! Oh, thank you Daddy! Thank you!” The whole car was rocking.


“No Dad! I won’t! I don’t want to go back. No! … And what about your thesis, huh?”


“Well, we’re going back, and I’ll just have to manage … somehow.” Dad’s jaw was jumping out again.


“But why?”


“Your mum is not well here, and she got hurt today.”


“No! I’m staying!” The tears were pricking behind my eyelids. Why now? Just when I found Misha? It was all so unfair. “Dad, I’m not going back! I swear.” Dad just ignored me.


When we got home, we saw that the suitcases were out and that Dad had already started packing stuff. It had to be Dad, because Mum was in bed. She was lying there with her eyes closed and didn’t say a word.


“What’s wrong with Mum?” Dad pulled us away from the door, but I had seen the big bandages around her wrists. “Dad! What happened? Is Mummy ok?”


“She fell and the window broke and cut open her arms. She got stiches, and it’s very sore, so just let her have some peace, ok? And I want the two of you to start packing your things straight away. Good stuff into the suitcases and junk over there.”


Paul wasn’t listening. “Check this!” As this usual, he was excited about all the wrong things. He was almost panting as he inspected the broken kitchen window. Some of the sharp points still had blood on them.


I felt a little bad that I was only thinking about Misha. But I couldn’t help it. I had never loved anything as much as this, and now it was all going to be taken away. My tears were angry and sad all together.  I hated Dad. And I would have hated Mum too if she didn’t look so sick.


After sorting things, we had to stack the rubbish in the driveway for taking away. A very smart lady in tight, white pants walked past. She looked us up and down. I had seen those looks before – the Germans could see we were different. I pretended not to notice. “Paul, go get another box.”


Then, right out of the blue, he was there! He came running down the road with a tennis ball in his mouth. Seeing him like this was the best thing in my whole, entire life. “Misha, Misha!” I called under my breath. He heard me and came towards me. I wanted to run and hug him and kiss him, but the lady was watching. Before I could reach out to pat him, she called him and without another look at me, he raced toward her. She threw the ball and he shot after it. I watched him all the way, until they disappeared around the corner. Even then, I still watched.


Dad found me sitting on a box, sobbing. “Why are you so sad about leaving, Ellie? You always said how much you hated it here.” I was gagging from all the crying, and just shook my head. “Well, you’ll have to pull yourself together. There’s a lot to do.”


I knew I was going to die from this sadness.

 




October 04, 2019 13:49

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