My next-door neighbor has a cat named Frankie. Every morning, as I sit writing in my journal, I catch a glimpse of Frankie as he comes out to greet the day. I recline in my writer’s chair positioned in my second-floor back room – my office – with my curtains pulled open as far back as they will reach to allow me to witness the expanse of the river and skyline before me. It’s a view I’ve come to love behind a house I wish I didn’t live in. But that’s a story for another time.
Frankie enters the picture tip toeing gingerly on the wooden boards of the deck outside the second story back room of his house. We live in rowhomes; therefore, the decks are so close we could climb over and borrow a cup of sugar from our neighbor (that’s a 1960’s reference borrowed from my mother).
I don’t know anything about cats. Not sure if Frankie is a “tabby” or a “tuxedo” or anything special by breed. I actually only know of the two types because I have a friend who is a cat lover and she has told me often that her cats are a certain breed. I assume it’s something like beagle or yorkie in the dog world, which is all I really am familiar with. But it doesn’t matter as Frankie has visited nearly every single morning, from a distance. I think he keeps his distance because one day while I was sitting outside on my deck reading a book and enjoying the summer sun, I felt the touch of fur on my leg and jumped as high as the sky in fear. It was Frankie. He had come over to say hello (without any warning) and was giving me some attention, as cats are wont to do, but I reacted like I was being attacked by zombies. So, he ran.
The next time I saw Frankie standing on my deck it was cold outside so I was inside behind the glass with the door closed tightly to keep out the winter air. Frankie either saw his reflection in the glass and was telling himself off or he saw me behind the glass and was letting me know that I was a jerk for jumping like that last summer. Either way, as a dog person, I think he was hissing. In the cat world he may have been telling me off over the back fence (another reference borrowed from mom).
Frankie and I haven’t again been as close as we were that day I thought zombies had invaded, but we see each other nearly every morning. I sit in my back room and respectfully say good morning to him through the glass, and he looks over his shoulder at me as if to say he hasn’t forgotten I’m a jerk but wishes me a good morning anyway. Then he turns and sashays up the stairs to his rooftop deck to begin his day doing whatever rooftop deck cats do. I was convinced though that he stayed there and pondered life as a cat with a rooftop deck who lives next door to a human who doesn’t have a rooftop deck (imagine how much nicer the fireworks are for him!)
I once saw a post on the community Facebook page that included a picture of Frankie. It was a post from a newcomer to the neighborhood and they were alerting us that a “lost” cat was on their roof deck and if we knew the owner, we can let them know where the cat is and they would be happy to take care of said cat until the owner could retrieve it. She added that the cat is very friendly. Before I had time to formulate a response, another neighbor posted that Frankie moves about the country with abandon and assures them he was only visiting and would go home soon. After which, the owner also posted a thank you to the newcomer. So, now I know where Frankie goes after he climbs those stairs. I somehow imagined he was sunning himself on a deck chair up on his own roof thinking about how he and I would say hello next time so we could move beyond the zombie situation. I felt a tinge of jealousy finding out he was making friends with other neighbors.
This morning after about 30 minutes passed Frankie meandered down the steps from his roof deck and stopped on a step to look in at me. I had opened the sliding glass door at my room to let some spring morning air into the house so the situation was not what he had left when he turned a cold shoulder to me earlier. I tried to take his picture for this blog but he’s brown and the deck rails are brown and he blinked his eyes closed every time my finger would press the shutter making him virtually invisible in the photo. So, I needed to get closer. I made the decision to go outside to try to take the picture. I pushed the sliding glass door open wider and as I did, I instinctively looked down at the floor so I wouldn’t trip over the tread where the slider meets the floor. And that fast, in the blink of my eye, Frankie had moved on to new adventures.