“A head full of fears has no space for dreams” ~ Author unknown
Today, burned out on writing, I looked away from my monitor, through the living room window of my fiancé Barry’s and my old redwood home at a rainbow arcing across the sky north of Honolulu.
A steep mountain street beckoned me. I often stroll along that plumeria-scented country lane when I need to unwind my computer-dazed mind. A big part of the small street’s appeal for me is a diminutive tortoise shell cat. She gallops from her garage when I walk by, and runs, purring, toward me, her tail pointing crookedly at the sky. Somehow she knows I will scratch her arched back and stroke her bent tail.
Barry and I lost our own tortie to illness several years ago. We christened our sassy cat with her spectacularly fluffy tail “Spoildy Woildy” after she began biting Barry’s head when he sat on his loveseat. She had decided the top edge of the couch belonged to her, not this interloper. In her green eyes, I was top cat, she was second, and Barry was a distant third.
Before trudging up the steep hill, I kneeled beside the kitty and stroked her. When I walked back down on the opposite side of the street, she trotted toward me. I sprinted to the other side, to the entrance of the cat’s garage. A slim, tall man with a long white beard and bright eyes who looked to be in his mid 70’s stood in the cat’s garage, stuffing garbage bags into a black metal can. I thought he looked like a wizard. Like Merlyn, or Gandalf.
“Hello,” he said, and smiled. “I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure.” He extended long bony fingers. “You live around here?”
I nodded. We shook hands. “ I was afraid your kitty would get hit by a car,” I said. “So I hurried to this side of the street, hoping she’d follow me.” The cat rubbed her head against my blue jeans.
“That was nice of you. Are you a cat lover like me?”
“Yes, especially tortoise shell kitties.”
He thought for a moment and added, “You know, I’d much rather show you my tree house than dump this garbage. Would you like to see it? It’s behind the house.”
My heart raced. Could this be a creative new come on? The man seemed friendly, but I didn’t know him. What if he attacked me in his treehouse? But he couldn’t be all bad. After all, he had a tortoise shell cat. I felt the bulky shape of my Samsung cell phone in my jean pocket. If Barry’s ringer was turned on, I could call him for help. But, knowing Barry, it was probably off.
I took a deep breath, trying unsuccessfully to slow my racing heart. “I would,” I told him, “but I’ll call Barry first … just take me a sec … to tell him where I am. Okay if he comes along?”
The man didn’t miss a beat. “Sure. But quickly. I’ve got to leave in half an hour.”
That sealed it for me. I phoned Barry. No answer. “Hi, honey,” I told the phone, “I’m up the street at 3245 Hina Road. Want to come and see a tree house behind this man’s house … oh, okay. I’ll be back in half an hour.”
I hung up the phone and thought about the tree house calendar I’d given Barry for Christmas, now hanging on our bedroom wall. I wondered if this man’s tree house could possibly be as grand as the ones featured on the calendar. No way, I thought. It probably looks like the tiny one my brother built in our oak tree from scrap wood when we lived on Elm Street.
“I’m ready,” I told the tree house man.
(Adventure to continue on my next blog post.)