Watched cats don’t eat.
I am not a Black Friday shopper. As much as I like the theory, its practice evades me. The idea of rising in predawn hours to score a $4.99 appliance that I may or may not need does not offer a thrill.
I am a Black Friday friend, though. When asked if I could do the early morning feeding for her cats Thanksgiving weekend, I obliged. That is what found me driving past the mall with Black Friday shoppers lining up in the dark. I now sit, pre-dawn, in a silent house, listening to the lapping of water and crunching of food in various locations.
My ears are especially trained on the upstairs hallway while I wait and hope for sound. I want the ghost cat to emerge for his food today. He is what prevents me from dumping the food, collecting the bowls, and getting the job done quickly.
Come out, come out wherever you are.
The thumping of paws alerts me to locations and activities of the other two. The elusive ghost cat remains hidden. I trust my perch halfway up the stairs to keep me from view while allowing me to glimpse the identity of the cat when it arrives at his bowl. I want to confirm existence.
Nothing. Not even a lump under the covers or a glow of eyes under the beds, as before. He is a stealthy one, that cat.
The others patter around, testing me by stopping at the full food bowl in the upstairs hall. I see them and chide them to move along. They have had their turn to eat.
I allow a reasonable amount of time, per friend’s instructions, of course. Past performance says that if the ghost has not emerged by now, he is not coming out this time. I text her the state of affairs. She replies with All sounds good.
Preparing to leave, I refresh water bowls, giving one last look around for the mystery cat. He does not want to show himself this morning. I close the door and lock it behind me.
Day breaks as I return to my car and begin the drive home.
Though tempted to disappear into the radio’s noise, I ride home in silence. Driving past the mall, I notice that shoppers have entered the stores. Instead of turning into the parking lot to join them, I slide back into my warm bed for a few more hours of sleep.