Non-Fiction Features, Rising Phoenix - Spring 2021, Rising Phoenix Features

Nonfiction Rising Phoenix Winner – Spring 2021


“My Window Friend”

Danielle Lemke

      In my house, there is a small room with perpetually cold tile floors. It is the
 enemy of bare feet whose only goal is to stand by the narrow windows on either side
 of the solely decorative doorway. The air vents spewing the cold air out on the hard
 floor counteracts the July heat, making it feel like I’m walking on a frozen river in the
 summertime.
      I bear the pain until the cold freezes my bones, then transition to the other foot
 to allow it to thaw. The process exponentially gets faster as my feet stay colder longer.
 The cold creeps up my legs, and soon I’m shivering and chattering my teeth, but there
 is a reason why I chose to torture myself like this. I reach out my short arms and touch
 the windows for a form of heat. When I do, there is something on the other side to
 meet my stubby fingers.
      He, I’m assuming it’s a he, is a little smaller than I am, but his nose is so much
 more pointy. His paws are as small as the cats at my Grandma’s house, his tail is as
 bushy as my mom’s hedges, his face looks like the puppies in my books, but he doesn’t
 look like a puppy. I don’t know what to call him, or what he is. He visits me every now
 and then. Today would be the third day in a row I get to see him. Every time I bring
 Mama or Daddy to see him, he always runs away before they can see him. I guess he’s
 just really shy. So it’s been just us meeting like this. I don’t mind though. He’s my friend.
      I look out past him into our front lawn. Our house is surrounded by woods, so
 it’s hard to see where he lives. Daddy says that there is a hole on the neighbor’s lawn
 that wild rabbits sleep in. Does he sleep in the ground too? Wouldn’t he get dirty if
 he did? I looked at his fur through the window. It didn’t look dirty. It was all clean and
 shiny. I wonder if someone is taking care of him?
      With my hand against the window, he padded up to it and tried to sniff it
 through the glass. I wonder if my sent traveled through because he couldn’t stop
 sniffing the window. Then without warning, he licked it! There must have been
 something bad tasting on the window because he shook his head with his tongue out.
 He tried to lick my hand through the window! I burst out laughing because it was so
 funny.
      I danced on my frozen feet, laughing so hard.
      Mama must have heard me and entered the tiny room. My friend saw Mama
 behind me and ran away as the doors behind me opened.
      “What are you laughing at, honey?”
      Tears swelling in my eyes from the pain in my sides, I couldn’t stop laughing
 as I said, “He tried to lick my hand through the glass… and made a funny face!”
      I returned to my laughing fit as Mama looked out the window, trying to see
 what I was talking about.
      Seeing nothing, she said, “Alright, sweetheart, time to come in for lunch.” Then
 ushered me in the doors she came through.
      Before the windows were out of sight, I turn back to see where my friend was
 standing. A wave of wishful thinking washes over me as I wonder what would happen
 if the glass wasn’t there tomorrow.