My name is Bianca. That’s how my human Mummy calls me. I’m a purebred Angora cat, female, they say. I don’t know what that means because I live in a tall block of flats, on the 10th floor to be exact. How do I know? Well, I’ve been up and down the elevator many times, on the way to and from the Vet’s. In a box.
I’ve never been with another cat. I don’t know my biological Mummy, but I feel there are siblings of mine out there. The outside world, a forbidden place for me.
This is the only home I know. I was tiny when I came here and can’t remember much. Mummy loves me, feeds me, and lets me be naughty. I’m grown up, they say. Two-years-old, no longer a kitten. Now that I’ve learned venturing beyond the windows might be dangerous, she leaves them open on hot summer nights. Yes, there was an accident. I tried to leap to the next door balcony and landed head on, two floors down, on the tiles of a neighbour’s terrace. Lucky, they said, just a mild concussion. The Vet kept me in a cage and let me go home a few days later. Windows frighten me, yet fascinate me ever since. I just sit on the sill and watch the world go by.
The great ball in the sky looks red tonight. Mummy calls it the blood moon and stares at it mesmerized. No idea why. She’s just gone to sleep and I want to watch some more to understand. As the lights go off in the buildings across the road, silence envelops the town, but I can hear my kind in the alleys. They call out to me. Something from a distant past tells me to join them. Under the light of the lamp post, the silhouette of a sibling creeps along the wall. His shadow is bigger than his body.
There is no way I can go out tonight, but perhaps tomorrow I can make an escape. The cleaning lady sometimes leaves the door open to put the garbage bags in the hall. I’ve sneaked out before. Patrolled the floor and saw the stairs, but I was too scared to explore further.
I remember a dream. In a place called Angora, I roam the gardens with my friends. Still a human’s pet, but free to wander around the village to discover the unknown. The smells, the crawling and flying creatures, the thrill of the hunt.
Tomorrow is the day. I want to see the world below. I can always make my way back … I think I can. Maybe, maybe not. Yet, adventure beckons.
About the Author:
Sebnem E. Sanders is a native of Istanbul, Turkey. Currently she lives on the eastern shores of the Southern Aegean where she dreams and writes Flash Fiction and Flash Poesy, as well as longer works of fiction. Her flash stories have been published on the Harper Collins Authonomy Blog, The Drabble, Sick Lit Magazine, Twisted Sister Lit Mag, Spelk Fiction, The Bosphorus Review of Books, Three Drops from the Cauldron, The Rye Whiskey Review, and CarpeArte Journal. She has a completed manuscript, The Child of Heaven and two works in progress, The Child of Passion and The Lost Child. Her collection of short and flash fiction stories, Ripples on the Pond, was published in December 2017. Her stories have also been published in two Anthologies: Paws and Claws and One Million Project, Thriller Anthology. More information can be found at her website where she publishes some of her work here.
About the Artist:
Bairam Salamov was born in 1965 in Gohmug suburb of Sheki (Azerbaijan). In 1986 he graduated from Azerbaijan State Art School named after Azim Azim-Zade in Baku.
Since 1990 he was lived and worked in Togliatti.
In 2001 he has received Grand Prix from Togliatti Picture Gallery for work Musician’s Family in the Picture of the Year Contest.
Bairam Salamov has been a member of Russian Creative Union of Artists and International Federation of Artists since 2002.
In 2009 he graduated from Togliatti State University (Department of Applied and Decorative Arts)
In 2010 he was included in encyclopedia “Who is Who” in Russia.
In 2010 he opened his own Bairam’s Art Gallery. His works and works of young unknown artists are displayed there. This is a unique place in Togliatti where you can see all stages of picture creation, meet famous writers, musicians, and artists from Russia and other countries.
In 2012 he was awarded by Silver Medal of Russian Creative Union of Artists for contribution to national culture.
If only animals could talk. What would they say? The craft of writing requires that writers be able to put themselves in another’s shoes and sometimes, this could wearing the furry mittens of a cat.
Sanders has been able to capture how Bianca feels as a kitten looking out into the world. There’s a touch of the whimsical in her writing as she pictures what it would be like to fling open the window to escape into the world beyond. And why not? The world is your oyster, as they say.
I love this painting for its use of blues and purples. The impasto brushstrokes tell me that I’m looking at an oil painting on canvas. It’s dusk, almost night time, the picture tells me. How does one know the time of day in a painting? There must be a magical unconscious eye in the mind that helps us associate colours with certain times of the day: I know it’s approaching night time because there are lamps and windows lit. The reddish-orangey dot (“the blood moon”) in the blue background tells me that this could be a new moon, peeking out in the distance. The air is still, as there are no clouds to indicate movement.
The windowsill opens up a cat’s eye view of the city below, where we see Sander’s Bianca looking out, mesmerised by the lights and the wonder of the outside world. We feel her sense of entrapment, her desire to roam free once more.
This story reminds me of a children’s story I once read of a refugee in war-torn Syria who cannot go out to play with his friends because of the devastation of the civil war. In this story, the boy tells us that he is trapped in the building and only knows of its white walls and the lift that takes him up and down the building shaft. This lift has become a playmate of sorts and keeps him company until he has to return home again for the evening. The feeling of claustrophobia crept in as I read this children’s story slowly, allowing it to work its way in my reading cells. I longed to escape like this little refugee boy, a good sign that the author had managed to capture a sense of urgency through her words.
It is important to be able to put yourself in another person’s shoes. In this way, we open windows to other worlds. Lived experiences can be had vicariously too.