“Ten.” (19 March 2016)

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I’ve been told that Blackie has an extremely loud, irritating and persistent yowl. It’s completely true. He’s letting it rip right now in signature style – head tilted to the side like a slow child, eyes wide, fixed and staring, mouth held open to emit a long, langourous call for attention.

What people usually don’t notice is the little lilt of his call, a slight, uncertain tremor of a kitty who’s used to being ignored. Blackie has always played second fiddle to Poppy, is psychotically jealous of Cupcake, and isn’t as fast as Curly to claim his spot on my lap. So he tilts his head to the side and yowls as though he won’t be noticed. Blackie is my resident hustler.

I always notice, though. Blackie melts my heart like tropical heat on a McFlurry. No matter how much I rub his sleek little face, run my hand down his warm furry back, pick him up for squealy cuddles, he is the Born Middle Child, always anxious, always eager for attention, always yowling with a doubtful tremble.

And so my ten minutes today are full of Blackie, thinking of these things as he sits next to me and blasts me with his relentless entreaties.

(Poppy and Curly are fine. Just fine.)

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