• Tom

Fiona's Kitchen: A Not So Good Morning

It was 7:00 AM and Tom had not opened his bedroom door.

As he, like Fiona, was a creature of habit and rose nearly every day at 5:50 in the morning, she grew worried about him and his closed door. Most mornings, she'd wait outside and stare up at the big, big white bedroom door. Even when she'd stand straight up on her hind legs and push her soft little paws against the smooth wood, the door was still so big. Sometimes she didn't like doors. Especially this morning.

Tom? She called out. Tom? A little louder this time.

Hmmmm... she thought to herself. She ran a paw under the door and tried rattling it, but it was heavy like the bottom of an old car.

Ahhh, the handle! I'll try that! Fiona was really good at trying.

If she tried very, very hard and concentrated, Fiona could just reach the stainless steel handle. She tapped and tapped. I don't think he can hear me. Again, she pushed up just enough on the handle. And, against the odds of it never happening previously, the door, as if by an invisible wind helping Fiona, opened! She was in! Fiona ran inside the bedroom and jumped on Tom's queen size bed. He was motionless with his sleep mask on over his eyes. It was purple, she thought, but she wasn't 100% about how colors worked.

Tom? Fiona squeaked. She extended her right paw and carefully touched his arm.

He stirred slowly and pushed his purple sleep mask up on top of his freckled forehead. His eyes looked different than normal but she wasn't sure why. They weren't as deep green as they usually were and they looked red. He didn't smile like he always did when he saw her. Something was very wrong and she knew it because his cheeks sank in and his mouth turned down as he rolled toward her and pressed much of his face into his pillow. But in a moment, he put he head back and looked at her, his eyes transparent against the bright morning sun streaming through the window. He slowly rubbed his hand under her chin where her fur was softest. It usually felt very nice but not today. Fiona was terrified something was very wrong with Tom. She sat upright and didn't move, staring into his clear eyes.

"Oh, Noni." He put his hand on her shoulders and gently pet her. His big hand covered half of her back. "I'm sorry," he said, "It's been pretty rough recently. Do you know what it's like to feel stuck? Like you can't get out of bed?"

She did not. Also, she'd never heard him talk this way before. It wasn't happy talk like always. Fiona was scared, so she did what seemed best: she chirped at him in her most upbeat voice.

In the light, Tom's eyes grew watery and they closed. Tears escaped as he pressed his eyelids together and they rolled down his long lashes.

"Oh, Noni."

Why did he keep saying that? This whole morning was not so good.

Fiona thought for a minute. She decided it would be a good idea to lay next to him until he got better. She wasn't sure how long that would take but cats are always faithful to their friends. It's the Cat Code. Plus he was her best friend in the whole wide world. So, she laid down alongside Tom's warm body and dropped her head over an extended paw. She pretended she was sleeping, but had her eyes opened by a crack so that she could watch him.

He rolled over towards her and stroked her soft grey ears. She didn't know if she was helping but she thought she might be.

"Fiona," he said with a tone of voice she'd never heard before, "I will never leave you. I will take care of you until the day you die and we will always be best friends." He paused. "And thank you for waking me up."

She did it! She helped! She was so happy that she momentarily forgot everything Tom had just said. Oh yes, friends.

Fiona slowly blinked her hazel eyes at Tom and, while softly purring against his extended hand, smiled at him.

I will always be your friend, too, she thought, and I will never, ever leave you.

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