Natalie had a precious procession. She kept it in a cupboard and rarely looked at it. In fact she saw it only when she went to that cupboard to get her silver teapot if a special visitor called for a cup of tea.
Her precious thing was a little exercise wheel for a pet mouse. The mouse had long gone, but she kept the wheel. It was plastic, and green. She’d had it since she was a little girl, when her pet mouse, Frederick, used to run around and around the wheel. He loved it!
And then a real live wild mouse came into the pantry and Frederick escape and got caught in the mouse trap Natalie’s father had set.
WHOOMPH! Natalie could still hear the sound. WHOOMPH! She knew the trap was there, but she didn’t know that Frederick had escaped his cage. Nothing would replace Frederick. The WHOOMPH! in her head stopped her from ever getting another pet.
Natalie was now ninety-four. She took out the little exercise wheel and looked at it. How different things might have been if there had been no WHOOMPH! She had never married. She had never done much with her life. The silver teapot in the cupboard hadn’t been used for years. In fact, she had become the little mouse running in circles of shyness.