Gilded cage? Auf Wiedersehen. Danke.
She languishingly stretched her long legs across the cool leather couch – reveling in the glove softness.
A stretch, and yawn.
Must have fallen asleep.
Now why was that ridiculous TV show on?
Guess it’s just what’s next on the channel.
She never even tried to flip to another.
It was only noise after all.
A series of moving shadows.
A pantomime of life outside. A Poor substitute, though.
The noise easy to ignore as the furniture.
Silently, she paced to the window.
The same basic view, of course.
It wasn’t an ever-changing movie set.
Although tiny reality shows were there if anyone cared to look – or stood there long there enough to notice.
And of course she did.
Reclusive or captive?
Did it matter anymore?
Time to check the army.
Each morning pigeons lined up military fashion on the opposite building’s roof.
A pigeon union getting their flight plans for the day?
The silly thought caused a little smile.
Resting her chin on the ledge, she wondered if the apartment’s residents even were aware they hosted the campaign strategy sessions above their heads?
Did they hear the daily tap, tap, taping as the pigeons shuffled along the ledge?
They never noticed her constant presence.
Those distance shapes might as well be ghosts – or maybe they were.
An amusing thought.
A disturbing one.
Her attention was drawn down the street to a rush of little figures hurrying towards the metro station.
She pressed her head against the window glass – trying to hear their sounds.
The double paned glass insulated her from worldly commotion.
Like a jewel in the Tower of London, she was sheltered.
Except from thunder.
Crashes of thunder would still intrude and drive her back into fear.
Panic still drove her to hide in dark places.
But the room was sunny now.
The drapes open as she preferred them.
Maybe not her chosen environment, but high in the air – a comfort.
Not able to fly, but snuggly perched.
She moved to the other window.
The little park visible beyond the sharp building corner.
No one there.
Still she was wistful.
A chance to stretch her legs outside for a bit?
That no one else was there wouldn’t matter.
She preferred it that way.
They would move close if others came too near: always watching her.
Never allowed out unattended.
Not allowed to accept offered snacks brought by others to share.
“Too delicate” was the explanation.
Even she saw that wasn’t believed, but none insisted.
But she knew those watched her too.
Some tried to befriend her.
Only to wander off puzzled by her reluctance.
Her shyness holding her as tight as any rope.
Oh, he’s there: the kindly elderly gentleman has arrived.
He never questioned.
Simply accepted her silent presence beside him.
Occasionally commenting about one or another.
“I don’t know why those boys must scramble about and kick up so much dust.”
The gentleman understood her anxiety, her hesitancy to approach the cliques.
In his shadow she felt safe.
She gained courage.
While still watched, she was allowed this small freedom.
Someday she would bravely run free with wild abandon.
Someday she would.
It was – it was – it was too hot for that.
No. It was pleasant enough sitting by the old gentleman.
A lady never sweats.
No. Not this time.
Suddenly she was jarred.
He’s there now: the old gentleman.
Oh, he’s early.
Oh, how long will he stay?
I – I can’t miss him!
She glanced at the door.
She knew it was useless.
The lock was baffling.
Even if she rattled and pounded the door, the neighbors would do nothing.
The entire building unresponsive to her.
Desperation drove her across the room.
She would risk it.
Leaping on the bed, she barked:
My friend’s at the dog park.
We are going out NOW!”
(And so they did.)
A small report from that Lady of Leisure, the German,
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge