Cold rain blew under my umbrella until I was drenched and shivering. It wasn’t bad enough that I’d been laid off unexpectedly, I’d missed my bus and had to wait for twenty minutes in the storm. My Louboutin’s were ruined, my mascara ran down my cheeks, and my hair frizzed from the roots. I repeated to myself, this is a change, a reason for a new start. Don’t look at is as good or bad. It’s an opportunity, that’s all. I pressed toward my house with my eyes squinted against the onslaught as my left hand searched blindly for the keys that had apparently decided to hide under accumulated debris in my purse. As I reached the stoop, my foot bumped something that screeched and jumped, making me stumble up the next step and run into my door, nose first. Ouch! My umbrella, useless as it had been, was now ruined and almost ripped from my hand, but my fingers brushed the keychain. Rubbing my nose, I’d already forgotten that I’d almost stepped on something a moment earlier.
“Hallelujah,” I said and opened the door. Whatever had screeched at me now ran into my house.
“Don’t be a possum,” I moaned and repeated to myself as I shut the door to keep out the rain.
“Here, kitty-kitty,” I said.
“Please be a kitty.”
I’d seen a possum crawling along the back fence a few nights earlier. When I’d approached the creature carefully, hoping to make friends, I’d been confronted with vicious teeth. That thing was not pretty. I really didn’t want it in my house.
“Here, kitty-kitty,” I repeated as I hung my raincoat on the hook by the door, dropped the useless umbrella into the tall stand, and stepped out of my ruined shoes.
“Where are you?”
I walked down the hallway in a state of heightened awareness, knowi...