Tammy ran barefoot to the old lady, curiosity mingled deliciously with fear, and nearly screamed when the old lady reached a trembling, gnarled hand toward her. She was holding something. Tammy leaned forward, squinting, at the squirming thing in the old lady’s hand.
The old lady’s arm shook. Her eyes were open, staring hard at her until Tammy felt compelled to kneel beside her. The hard asphalt hurt her knees, but she dared not complain or move to get more comfortable. Her eyes were locked with the old lady’s.
Tammy didn’t normally understand grown ups much, they seemed to speak a language that never equaled the way things really were. At least not that she could tell anyway. She didn’t think they all really wanted to be liars. Probably just couldn’t help it. But the old lady’s eyes spoke a whole invisible language, and Tammy didn’t see a single lie it any of it. There was pain, yes and loneliness, but mostly there was warmth and joy. And right now, there was a plea for help.
When the old lady’s hand fell onto Tammy’s lap, releasing the squirming object, Tammy knew she should pick it up and bring it close to her heart, because that was the best place to keep a baby warm. The pointed little grey head, and rough fur was not anywhere near as cute or as nice to touch as the kitten her best friend had just gotten. And this baby creature made a strange, hissing, clicking noise, not nearly as sweet as the kitten’s mew, plus it smelled like a garbage can. All the same, Tammy wouldn’t let go. Somehow, she knew to look in the pouch of the dead mama opossum, and pull out the other two fluffy grey babies, who detached reluctantly from inside their dead mother’s pouch.
Tammy watched the man from across the street run towards the ambulance, and before he could take away the baby, she disappeared back into her apartment.