The quiet of the house lulled me into peaceful meditation as I worked a needle craft. In the background was the steady hum of the basement dehumidifier. Few cars roared past the house because most people were home by this time of the evening. Without warning, a loud crash came from the entryway. Startled, I put down the yarn and slipped to the edge of the sofa.
“What made that sound?” I wondered. I had become an expert at noticing and identifying household sounds since my husband passed away 12 years ago. This sound wasn’t the well pump over working, it wasn’t a loose fan belt on the furnace, nor a malfunctioning washing machine. Was someone trying to break in?
I had never noticed household sounds when Arnie was alive. He was with me to take care of those things. Even if an intruder were to break in, I knew he was there to protect me. That all changed the first night after he was gone. I had suddenly realized with horror that I was now responsible for everything in my home.
Quietly, I crept through the dining room and peeked into the entryway. My older cat was catloafed on the rug, his paws tucked in and tail tight alongside his body. The younger cat sat upright on the desk. He turned to look at me with large, round, crazed eyes. What was wrong with the cat?
I had clothing in the washing machine in the basement that needed to be put into the dryer. Crossing the entryway to the basement door, I noticed that Shadow was staring at the ceiling.
As I came back from my laundry duties several minutes later, I stepped into the entryway in time to see Shadow leap into the air, paws outstretched. Since he didn’t have wings, he did a wild thrashing motion in mid-air before crashing down loudly onto the recycling bins.
Unharmed, the young cat resumed staring at the ceiling. I looked up too, and saw a fly buzzing around the ceiling light. That explained what was going on! Hoping to give Shadow some peace, I turned off the light. Maybe the fly would go to sleep and Shadow wouldn’t be disturbed by seeing it.
Back on the sofa, I resumed working with the yarn. Shadow’s attempt to fly reminded me of a cat my family had had when I was in high school. Tommy appeared to be a perfect Siamese, except one of his hind paws was pure white.
Naughty behavior was Tommy’s normal modus operandi. Some of his hijinks were as harmless as sitting on Mom’s chair-side table and pulling the stick-pins out of her pincushion one at a time. We were more worried that he’d hurt himself.
I remember very well a terrible thing Tommy did one night. Daddy was sitting in the living room reading the newspaper, with Tommy near his shoulder on the back of the davenport. Daddy turned his head to say something to us. Tommy took one look at him and in a flash slashed three bloody furrows down the length of Daddy’s nose.
What happened next was pure knee-jerk reflex. Daddy grabbed Tommy and flung him across the room. The naughty cat flailed once in the air, but landed gracefully on his feet, skidding to a stop on the slippery linoleum.
From the entryway came another crash, effectively returning me to the here and now. I sighed, “I forgot, cats can see in the dark. That stupid fly must be still buzzing around. At this rate, I’m going to be dreaming about flying cats tonight!”