Its a desperate Saturday afternoon: we cant find anyone to watch
Skylar and the need to see a movie has become overwhelming.
I look out my side window, and I can see a gray tail flicking over the top
of the sofa in Phyllis home. Phyllis is our sweet next door
neighbor. Theres only one problem with asking Phyllis to watch
Skylar: Her cat. Its not that her cat is mean or anything like
that. She is also very sweet.
I should know because up until two weeks ago she was my cat.
Back when she lived here, Freya had unlimited food, a cozy couch with her
own blanket to curl up on, and an attic to explore. But every
Paradise has its snakes, in this case two dogs.
Two months ago Freya walked out of the house and refused to come back in.
Better to bare the discomforts of the outside world than live in constant
fear, I believe the look on her face said. Being the accommodating
roommate that I am, I moved her personal belongings down to the garage.
I even installed a cat door so she could come and go at her leisure.
She was completely self-sufficient, just as a cat likes.
I recognized the first sign of trouble early one evening. Phyllis
called on the phone. I cant get Freya to leave my house,
How is she getting in? I asked.
I let her in, said Phyllis, and sometimes I give her a little
treat to eat. The fact that the level in Freyas kibble
dispenser hasnt dropped in two weeks suddenly makes sense.
I dont blame her for not wanting to leave, I said to Phyllis.
The best thing is to probably not let her in in the first
That night we all heard it: 3am and Freya meowing at Phyllis kitchen
door. Then I heard the kitchen door open and Phyllis voice say,
All right, you can come in.
That was just the start of things to come. Freya, who used to always
come running to say hello to me, was nowhere to be found. On the
rare occasion I did see her, she skulked away, pretending she didnt see
me. More often than not I could see her tail flicking in my neighbors
Im not one to drag my feet once I see the writing on the wall.
Resigning myself to the hard truth, I cleaned out Freyas litter box and
brought it over to Phyllis as a symbolic break, and to show that there
were no hard feelings.
I figure you might need this since shes spending more time at your
house than mine, I said as I presented Phyllis with the box.
Why thank you, Nicholas, Phyllis said sincerely. Over her
shoulder, I could see into her bathroom and that she already had a box.
I no longer had any doubts that I was doing the right thing.
By the way, Phyllis continued, Dale and I are going on vacation
for a few days. I know its a funny thing to ask... I
steeled myself for the inevitable: ...but would you mind feeding her
while were gone?
As I walked back to my house, I struggled with the injustice of it, the
irony, the betrayal. And then I decided to get even. Ill
spoil her while Phyllis is gone, thatll show her.
The next morning I let myself into Phyllis house. Freya met me at
the door, then ran under the dining room table as if she thought I was
going to take her back the garage. On the table I found a note.
Nicholas, it read, Princess Freya begins her routine at 7:30 in
the morning. I was already an hour late, I realized.
After she eats, she likes to go out, but only for about 15 minutes.
When she returns she wants to play wants the LR drapes open and
usually wants to be petted esp. head and chin. Then shell sleep a
while and after want a treat (8-10-12 Kitty Bites) and
There were several more pages to the list.
If I were a lesser person, I might call it infidelity laced with a heavy
dose of ingratitude. But I understand why she left me. It
still hurts, of course, but Freya found someone who could appreciate her
Princess qualities. Because of the dogs we were never quite able to
recognize her true status. Phyllis can and does, with a tremendous
amount of love.
Through my window I see Phyllis pet Freya. I imagine I can hear her
I think about my movie again. I know Phyllis can and would watch
Skylar. But I also think a video tape will do the trick. Who
knows what would happen if I brought Skylar over for a few hours.
I just cant imagine how Id feel if I had to look through my
neighbors window for a peek at my son.