Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Tiger

I watched Snickers, our twenty-year-old cat, pace the downstairs this morning and thought of a Bengal tiger pacing her cage at the zoo. I looked up and zoo-goers peering in through the dining room windows. A woman held a small girl up high and pointed toward the cat. The little girl stared wide-eyed at it, looked back at the woman, her mother, and made an O with her mouth. I picked up Snickers, who seemed much heavier, padded to the window and held her up. The little girl became our eldest, the mother became my wife, I became a father tiger, and we all stared at one another like strangers slowly recognizing one another. Then I set Snickers down, looked out the window at the empty street, the grey sky, the rain coming down. I looked up the empty stairwell to where I knew you were all sleeping. Snickers padded by again. She looked up at me, opened her mouth, and roared something that I wish to God I could have understood. Then I left the zoo locking the cage tight behind me.