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The Tumble
By Cynthia W.
age: 15
Washington

“For the hundredth time, please walk! Don’t run!” Mother nagged. Ignoring her request, I swiftly pranced down the fuzzy white- carpeted stairs wearing worn and aged slippers while grasping the wide-eyed, puzzled family cat from the sofa. I was enthusiastic that I had finally finished my homework-it was very late at night and I had to hurry and get some much needed rest for tomorrow. Harmonizing with the noise of my thumps down the stairs was the ebullient sound of a frequently shown TV commercial that Father was watching while eating his midnight snack and the endless drone of the refrigerator. Little did I know that my clunks to the bottom of the stairs would take much longer than I expected.
On only two flights of scant stairs, I’d fleetly ascended and descended to my room countless times. I knew precisely how many steps there were in total. I always positioned myself at a certain angle so that there wouldn’t be any empty spaces under my feet. Not skipping two steps at a time was an abashing shame even in the complete darkness.

Being the only child, I was the sole owner of all the spacious rooms downstairs. There was basically no need to rush for the shower, and yet the emptiness of the rooms made me want to kidnap the cat to fill the lonely void. It was the daily routine before bedtime. I was late due to the harrowing piles of homework, and Mom worried that I lacked sleep. How could I not be hurried? Hastening, I bustled here and there. The hairball in my eager arms shivered with fright. My face came in the contact with the creature’s ruff and the long curly whiskers tickled. I smelled the sweet fragrance of her Fur-So-Fresh shampoo.

Before my foot could even reach the second step, something totally unexpected occurred. Suddenly, I tripped and the stairs seemed to have disappeared! Stumbling over my fluffy and oversized flannel pants, the hairball (the nervous family cat) and I merged into one-rolling down this plane of fear. As I tumbled closer and closer to the proximity of the final stair, the hair-flying, quivering feline encompassed in my arms endeavored to propel out of my unrelenting grip. In this nonlinear course of confusion and earsplitting noise, I had managed to hear the muffled yowl from the terrified pussy. The frightened cat had the basic instinct of evading my clutches of danger in a flash. The fall ended with my face unfortunately striking against the bottommost stair. After lying there silently for several awkward moments, I heard Mother dart in a flash down the stairs faster than I could tumble and cry out fretfully, “Are you all right? Are you hurt?”

Traumatized, I could only stutter. “I don’t know… but, where’s the cat?”

“Are you okay?” Mother repeated.

All of a sudden, I blurted out, “My nose is numb! Is it still attached?”

“You need ice! Quick, get ice! My god! Your nose is PURPLE!” Mother groaned. Dad, who hurried out of the kitchen, joined the baffling commotion. Ice did not make the unsightly bruise recess as I had wished. How could I erase the unattractive spot in the middle of my face before the dreaded picture day (which according to Mother was THE VERY NEXT DAY)? I prayed fervently, hoping that the photographer knew how to edit pictures really well.
 

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