I have never been one of those people who enjoyed being scared. I watch scary movies with my eyes closed. I leave lights on around the house when I'm home alone. And, I definitely do not like for people to sneak up on me and go "boo". Somewhere along the way, I should have mentioned this particular personality trait to Gracie.
Just inside the front door of my house sits a small square-shaped piece of furniture about three feet high. The top is flat, and the only decoration on it is a plastic plant. It really doesn't serve any purpose other than take up space, hold a few books, and look nice. Up until recently, I didn't even think my feline friends paid any attention to it except when they shoved toys under it. How quickly things change in a house with cats.
Last week, I had to make a quick trip to the store to get some forgotten supplies needed for the night's dinner. When I got home, I checked to make sure that two pairs of eyes were not peeking at me through the glass at the bottom of the front door before I opened it. Seeing that the coast was clear, I picked up my cloth grocery bag and entered the house. That is when the chaos began.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something leap towards me from the top of the square bookshelf. Caught completely off guard, I dropped my bag and backed out of the house, slamming the door in front of me. My heart was beating so fast I was sure it was going to burst through my chest. It took my mind a few minutes to register what had just happened to both me AND my groceries.
For a few brief moments, I thought that a crazed opossum or raccoon had broken into my house - we have a lot of those in my nature preserve neighborhood. But then, I spied a pair of eyes surrounded by grey fur peeking at me through the glass. Their expression seemed to suggest that my behavior was disappointing yet again.
You see, it appears that Gracie had decided to sit on the bookshelf by the door and wait for me to return. When I opened the door, she attempted to leap into my arms to welcome me home. I guess it never occurred to her that my arms would already be full, or that I would panic and succumb to my flight instinct.
I had hoped that my initial reaction to her new way of welcoming me home would curb her desire to every repeat such a greeting. But as usual, I was naively wrong in that assumption. Instead, it has become a kind of stalking game. I never know if she is there waiting to leap until I open the door and walk through it. Consequently, I always enter the house empty-handed these days. It leaves me much better prepared to catch a flying ball of fur if necessary.
Until next time, remember...
Don't be afraid of being scared. To be afraid is a sign of common sense. Only complete idiots are not afraid of anything.”
- Carlos Ruiz Zafon