NIGHTFALL was arriving swiftly. Outside our house, there was an orchestra of crickets that serenaded me as I sat idly by the shabby screen door. There were frisky children in their bikes, too, who began heading home after dusk started to settle over the neighborhood. 

“Hey there, Archie!” shouted Ate Airyn, my older sister, as she plopped down beside me on the floor. She clutched in her hand a thick book, which she had been reading for quite some time now. 

Not minding her presence, I continued peering through the dusty gaps of the screen door, scouting for a cherry-red scooter to pass by. Besides, Ate Airyn had already irked me enough when she left our bedroom light switched on the other night, robbing me of some needed shut-eye.

And so there I was, waiting and watching patiently, until a black cat broke my focus as it strayed onto our porch. It was meowing arrogantly,  a sound that definitely rang in my ears and left me annoyed. I immediately attempted to scare it away, which earned me a scolding from Ate Airyn. 

I snarked at her, to which she responded, “You grouchy little Archie!”

By this time, the lampposts had already begun lighting up outside, their yellow beams casting long shadows of passersby on the grungy pavement. But there were still no signs of the cherry-red motorcycle, not even the rumble of its engine that I could usually hear from meters away. Where was he?

This question loomed over my head as Mama called us for supper. Meanwhile, Ate Airyn dropped everything, even her half-finished book, and trotted toward the dining table when she heard the call. 

“Come on, Archie,” she said, pulling the chair tucked beneath the table. 

Further tempting me to rush toward the dining table were the clink-clank of the utensils and the smell of fried chicken wafting from the kitchen. 

But no. Although my stomach was already growling, I could still endure a few more minutes of waiting. Why would I even eat dinner without my favorite person?

Sure enough, when Mama had just placed the hefty plate of steamed rice on the table, a familiar flash of a motorcycle headlight shined by our driveway. 

“Papa’s home!” shouted my brother, Arnold, as everyone seated at the dining table gazed toward the direction of the door in delight. Before he could even park his motorcycle, I barged through the screen door and zoomed to Papa to greet him. 

“Ahh, Archie,” our father laughed, switching his scooter off and stowing his helmet in the compartment of his trusty two-wheel ride. 

“He’s been waiting all day by the door for you,” Arnold said with a smirk on his face. “As usual.” 

Ever the nosy Arnold he is. 

“Has he?” our father said as he flounced past the door and swiftly into the dining area where everyone awaits.

Papa took his seat by the dining table and enjoined us all to pray. Soon enough, everyone was passing around the rice and fried chicken – everyone, except me. 

How unfair! They couldn’t cook my favorite meal, dangle it around my face, and expect me not to ask for some! 

Then, my instincts kicked in – I pawed Papa in the leg and stared at him pleadingly. He was the only one who would give me food from the table, not even Mama, who would often make a fuss about it being unhealthy for me. 

“He’s nudging you again,” our mother chuckled before taking a bite. “That’s what you get for always giving in to his whims.”

And give in to my whims, he did. Papa tore a large piece of meat from the chicken leg and tossed it to me, which I chowed down in a matter of seconds. 

Ahh, fried chicken! Crunchy yet tender, overall delectable. This is a luxury I only receive from Papa. 

Heaven knows how hard I’ve tried to annoy my other family members into giving me something from their plates, but it would always be Papa who would give in to my request.

I leaped up to Papa’s knee, barked at him, and wagged my tail to ask for another bite. Maybe a little puppy-eyed look would compel him to give me a bigger piece. Or better yet, the entire chicken leg.


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