The Tiger At Apartment 438

She’s been watching me for four days.  Peering in my sliding glass doors.. sitting on my terrace.. watching every move i make.  She’s absolutely breathtaking, and i am not one bit afraid of her.  At least, i think she’s a her.  Thing is, how did she get up here?  My apartment is on the fourth floor, and there are no stairs in the back.  The terrace is at the back.  Tigers are excellent leapers; this i know.  Still, the fourth floor is too much of a leap.. even for the biggest and most powerful of the big cats.  She was out there on Tuesday morning when i came into the living room and opened the shades like i always do before i brew my morning coffee.  And when i opened the shades.. i was not at all startled.  Like i expected her to be there.  I would have asked her in for coffee, but i don’t think tigers drink coffee.. do they?  And she didn’t seem interested in food.  She seemed to want to tell me something.  But what?

Is she my spirit animal?  I always thought my spirit animal is the Basset Hound.  You know, low to the ground, (i’m only 5’2″,) friendly, sleeps a lot, long ears, (okay my ears aren’t long, but i like to eavesdrop,)  and kind of slobbery.  But intelligent.  Basset Hounds are very intelligent.  Make no mistake.  They just move deliberately, that’s all.  And i don’t really slobber.. i just spill stuff on my shirts sometimes when i eat.  I digress.  Why has this tiger come to watch me.. or watch over me.. or spy on me, whichever the case may be?  Perhaps she’s an incarnation of my deceased grandmother, and she’s  here to scold me for not making my bed with hospital corners, or for not keeping my refrigerator properly cleaned.  Or.. maybe she’s here to teach me something of profound importance.  But what that might be., i can’t imagine.  I’m pretty good at life for a twenty nine year old.  But of course i don’t know it all.  No one does.  And my first husband, Grant?  He was a gargantuan mistake.  I admit it.  Or maybe this tiger is not a she at all, but a he.  A big, magnificent powerful animal who is really Miles in disguise.  Miles was the boy i coveted all through high school.  Red hair, intense blue eyes, very tall and striking.  But i was so shy i didn’t dare ever speak to him.  If this is Miles, i will invite him in for a lot more than coffee.

That evening, the fourth evening, i open the door, and he or she saunters into my living room.  I’ve been gone for a couple of hours, but i left a huge dish of water and a few raw steaks out there for him or her to snack on.  So she.. yes.. i guess i’m still calling her a she most of the time.. comes in and sits by my brown leather recliner.  As if she’s asking permission to lounge there.  So i nod.  It’s indeed okay for her to lounge.  Tigers are superb loungers.  I mix myself a martini, but she wants nothing to drink.  I have questions for her.  Like.. why is she here?  Did someone send her?  How did she get up here?  Is she real?  So i ask, and i don’t let her get a word in edgewise.  I ask until she sighs with impatience, and interrupts me to tell me that she is a he.  Most definitely male.  I’m a man, he says, i’m whoever you want me to be.  And i think.. well then.. you’re George Clooney.  Or Ryan Reynolds.  Or maybe Cary Grant.  A young Cary Grant, from when, you know, he was still alive.  Then i think.. this has to be a dream.  A pretty great dream.  So he says.. well say something.  Who do you want me to be?  And i say, let me sleep on it!  I’ll tell you in the morning.  This is a really fun game, and i want it to last, after all.  Drag it out for as long as i can.  But then i wonder.. does this fall into the category be careful what i wish for?  Sure.. he says, sleep well, and you might dream of who you want me to be.  And by the way, Margot.. (that’s my name, Margot.  He knows my name?) can i sleep on your couch?  That terrace is a little chilly at night, even for a man with fur.  Sure you can sleep out here.  I don’t mind at all..

I don’t remember when i slept so well.  As far as i know, my sleep was dream free.  Well, of course i dreamed, but i don’t remember anything at all.  So first thing, as always, i think, i need coffee.  So i go open the shades, and at first i’m surprised that the tiger isn’t out there.  Then i remember.  But neither is he on the couch.  Instead there’s a tall, handsome man making scrambled eggs and bacon and brewing a pot of coffee in my kitchen.  He has red hair.. and no tiger tail, but a pony tail.  He’s tall, and he has the bluest eyes i’ve ever seen.  I have to lean against the recliner so i don’t fall over.  This must be a dream.  I say.. you cannot possibly be real.  And he just says.. oh i’m real all right.  And i am who you want me to be…..

By M. Raynes


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