Back to Museum of Kindness

Lisette Auton, writer

You’re as tall as my ruler with old lady eyebrows and a greying muzzle. Can you be kind?

 

It had been a rough day. A should have rested day. A should have gone to bed day.

A should have closed the curtains, listened to Radio 3, said to myself “Seep deep into the mattress, lose yourself in the space below duvet, cloud watch, wait for the stars,” day.

I was in a tizzy, a fret, all of a dither, restless, angsty, full of pent up nothing, can’t-settle-ness.

I eventually came outside and sat in our little back yard with the white washed walls and the plants exploding into colour in their mismatched pots. Couldn’t sit still, about to leave, wander, circle once more.

 

There wasn’t room for you on my chair. There was not room for anyone in my whirling swirling twitchy head.

You pawed at me. Swiped. Grazed my right leg with swift claw.

Growled, howled,

and eventually, when the ignoring was too much and you knew you knew the answer        I was just not listening you ridiculous human,

you leapt up onto my knee.

You crushed your weight upon me, usually so light, this time you were full of all the heavy I needed to make.

me.

stop.

 

You wedged your head between my thigh and the chair arm, your head squished between your paws.

You sighed.

When you did that and I felt that something loosen inside me and you became lighter, and so did I.

With each warm popcorn breath you became lighter, and so did I.

With each fresh biscuit breath you became lighter and further away, and so did I.

You slept, and so did I.

 

Maybe I just looked comfy. Maybe you wanted my seat.

Maybe my lap was at perfect height to catch the breeze, make nose tremble and wrinkle. Maybe none of these things.

Maybe you just knew I was struggling and you knew I needed you.

Maybe you were being kind.

 

Does it matter that I don’t know, that I don’t know if you can be kind, whether you go beyond sleep, eat, poop?

My name is Lisette Auton and I’m a professional writer who works across multiple forms, and I’m also a disabled activist. I’m an award-winning published poet, a Penguin WriteNow mentee for my children’s novel and on the TSS Publishing list of Best British & Irish Flash Fiction. I work with museums and galleries in the Tees Valley on literature and creative projects. I’m proud to have contributed to the Museum of Kindness.