By Sharon Lynch
Appearances, they say, can be deceiving. So while Simon appeared to be snoozing by the window, he was in fact listening to what was going on in the other room. Jim was talking on the phone to his neighbour Monika, and to Simon, it sounded as though the two were planning a trip. And anything that might impact mealtime was always of interest to Simon.
In the winter, meals were the main highlight of Simon’s day. In the summer, he was outside most of the time. While yes – he did often snooze on his favourite rock by the pond. But he also managed to snag the odd frog, chipmunk and even the occasional finch. Of course if he was caught in the act, Jim would throw a fit and try to banish him from the yard.
However that never worked because as soon as Jim’s back was turned, Simon would return. He knew Jim would forgive and forget quickly, so he’d leisurely stroll back, pausing at the flower bed to check Jim’s reaction, if any. Then he’d choose a different spot, perhaps under the trailing willow branches or amongst the raspberry canes. Anything that rustled, hummed or chirped got his immediate attention. Often these encounters ended in a nice snack.
But winter was different. Simon became an indoor cat during those dark, cold months. Sure sometimes he’d get a little curious about what lay on the other side of the patio doors. Who could blame him? It did get boring looking at the same human face and the same furniture. Thank goodness for the table in front of the den window. Actually it was the heater under the window that made winter bearable. Simon could see up and down the road from this vantage point while being pleasantly warm at the same time.
The problem was by now even the window spot was starting to lose some of its appeal. I mean, how much looking and snoozing can any cat take? Simon considered himself a bit of an athlete the rest of the year. He could scale a tree in a flash, race through the golden rod in pursuit of a butterfly and box with the neighbour’s dog without even working up a sweat. So by now he was feeling restless.
He tried different things to ease the boredom and lack of activity. Jim had been kind enough to buy him a scratching post and while it was hardly a fence or tree trunk, it would do in December and January. But now Simon wanted more. So sometimes he walked up to the patio doors and looked out at all the white.
And it always seemed that Jim would immediately ask him if he wanted to go out. Jim would even open the door a few inches, as though to entice Simon to take the plunge. Not a chance, Simon would think. But truth be told, he did like to tease Jim a bit by going right up to the cracked door and sniffing the air. Jim would get all excited and think Simon was actually going to venture out into the wintery landscape. No way, Simon would chuckle to himself before backing away.
Simon watched as Jim pulled on his outdoor clothes. There was a knock on the door and Monika stood there, dressed much like Jim. Then Simon heard the word “hike.” “Hike” always ended with Jim returning and making himself something to eat. When that happened, Simon made a big fuss over Jim resulting in a few treats from the bag kept above the kitchen counter.
Then Simon would go back to the table by the window, stretch out to get the full benefit of the heat and have a nap. Usually he dreamed about the summer, the pond and the annoying neighbour’s dog. It would be here soon enough, he told himself as he drifted off.