Sunday, 1 February 2009 - 5:57 pm

Nice to be liked

I just had a chat with Dillon. I catch him watching the rest of us sometimes, weighing our expressions and the looks we’re giving each other, taking in the unspoken arguments. He doesn’t know what to do about it, either, and I recognise that look on his face. It’s the one I had when things turned sour at home.

I asked him how he was doing. He shrugged and I knew I wasn’t going to get anything out of him about all that. So I changed the subject and thanked him for keeping an eye on Nugget – he’s been keeping the little one on a short leash, even when he hasn’t been asked to. Even when he had complained about it.

He asked me what we were going to do about the cat. She was feeding it, even though we all told her not to. It was my turn to shrug then; not because I didn’t want to talk, but because I didn’t know what to say. She wasn’t using up anyone else’s food, and we stopped her whenever we caught her doing it, but it seems that she’s a determined little thing.

“All it needs now is a name.” I was joking when I said it, but Dillon gave me a curious look.

“She’s called it Jones,” he said.

Jones – weird name for a cat. Then it occurred to me what was really strange about his statement. “How do you know?”

“She told me.”

“She spoke to you?”

“Yeah, yesterday.”

That made me smile. I looked at the little girl again, at her stroking the cat’s head while he sat there blinking calmly at the rest of us. She’s talking – she’s getting better.

“She must like you, Dillon.”

“What makes you say that?” The frown he gave me said that he didn’t know what girls were good for yet, or why he would care if one liked him.

“Because she hasn’t said a word to anyone else. Not even Sax.”

Dillon was surprised but pleased; he seemed more relaxed after that. He kept checking on Nugget – whether he cares about girls or not, he still likes the attention. He likes to be liked. I went to sit with Ben again for much the same reason.