The woman watched her black cat antagonize a fat lizard for a few minutes. Well, really, Cassandra was just playing, pawing the lizard every time it tried to escape. And then the woman watched Skyler, her other cat, as she ran over to investigate, to find out what the commotion was all about. The woman let the cats have a moment with the reptile, then she scooped up the colorful creature, and let it go through a hole in the backyard fence.
That was twenty-four hours ago.
Now, twenty four hours later, the woman is feeling sick to her stomach wondering where Skyler is.
After the lizard drama, both cats ran off, in different directions, scouting the neighborhood, as usual. When the sun began to set, the woman walked out to the sidewalk in front of her house, and gently called their names. Cassandra, Skyler, she called in her singsong voice. The voice the cats trusted. Cassandra came running. Ran right into her arms. Then she called to Skyler, once again, as she walked back towards the front door.
Every twenty, or so, minutes she'd walk out to the sidewalk and call Skyler's name. But to no avail. The woman spent the rest of the evening and all through the night calling to her shy, quiet, observant cat. In the wee hours of the morning the woman had resigned herself to believe that something had happened. Something bad. Her sick stomach told her so.
But, she was wrong, because later that afternoon Skyler walked into the house wide-eyed and fearful. As if something had happened to her. Something bad. When she heard the natural stomp of a foot, she ran under the couch, as far back as she could tuck herself in. She jumped at every noise. Noises that she had become immune to. With gentleness, Skyler's family welcomed her home, into their safety net. Allowing her to readjust, at her own pace.
The next morning, when the woman open the garage door, just enough for the cats to slip under, Skyler sat, and observed her neighborhood. Taking a moment to reflect on something. And then Skyler slowly followed Cassandra out onto the grass, and watched as her sister caught another lizard.
If only cats can talk, the woman said to herself.