By Jami Kimbrell
Fig trees were weighed down, limbs touching the ground, and what felt like rotten fruit-sludge squished between my toes as I stumbled barefoot across my Aunt Joree’s backyard in search of her missing cat. It made my granny mad to see all those figs go to waste, but her sister wasn’t all there anymore. We knew that because Aunt Joree had been letting things die around her for years.
Still, she seemed content unless she lost her cat.
So what if she hadn’t changed the light bulb in her spare bedroom since my granny stayed there two Christmases ago so neither of them would have to spend it alone. So what if her pantry hadn’t been stocked since that same Christmas, and so what if you could open her fridge and see a jug of clabbered milk, a bag of shriveled grapes, and a moldy box of Arm & Hammer. Things were different when it came to that cat, the one she’d named Loretta even though it was a male, even though it couldn’t sing, never made a sound even, had been born that way. “Such a shame,” she’d say as she stroked Loretta’s back while the two of them took in their daily dose of *Wheel of Fortune.*