With a thud she hit the ground and then, lying paralyzed there in the mud, she watched them walk away. Wait, she tried to scream. But they didn’t hear her. How would her little girl get through the day without her? Her owner needed her. Maybe at her desk. Or at her cubby or the lunch table. Or maybe on the way home from school. She didn’t know when it would happen, but she knew that soon enough her owner would notice she was missing. By then it would be too late. As the rain fell steadily, she lay in the mud and watched silently as parents walked their children into school, returned to their cars, and drove away. Despite the smile painted across her little face, which made her look perpetually cheerful, she was sad knowing that she was lost forever.
I looked down as I climbed in the car after dropping #2 off at school. There was a lonely little kitten keychain lying in the mud. I paused for a moment, knowing how #2 would feel if she had lost her kitten keychain and feeling a pang for the little girl who will sometime today notice that her kitten keychain is missing. I wondered: Could I figure out who lost you? Could I pick you up and go quickly to each classroom and ask if anybody had lost a kitten keychain? No. It was a silly idea. I had an appointment to keep. It was, after all, just a kitten keychain. There’s no way I would be able to find your owner. Besides, I had to go. Nevertheless, I felt sad for the little girl who lost her kitten keychain.
Wait, she called as the man climbed into his car. Don’t go. Help me find my owner. She watched the man’s car drive away. She lay there in the deepening mud. Her smile never wavered as raindrops continued to fall on her like giant tears. Still, nobody came to pick her up.
Somewhere inside the big red building, a little girl dug frantically through her backpack. She tore everything out of her desk. She checked her pockets, then the pockets on her coat. Where was her kitten keychain? She started to cry. Tears fell on her desk, leaving giant dark wounds wherever they landed on her paper.