Since we moved into the new apartment, Josie has been yearning to pass beyond its front door to see what lies beyond. She and the other cats hear sounds from without, people talking and walking. This is odd to them, no doubt. They were accustomed to the house and its straightforward frontiers. There were walls, windows and doors. Behind them was a wider world, the Outside. There was grass; there were birds and strange cats; smells and noises that they could relate to what they could see. Not so in the apartment.
My Chubs has been fascinated with getting beyond the new home’s confines. One evening on the weekend, as I returned from putting out the rubbish, I opened the apartment door to find Josie right there, as usual. I decided to let her out. Though I have no doubts concerning her ability to run - she is probably like a cheetah, able to cover a short (very very short) distance rapidly - I also know her mind, and knew she would not bolt. Even so, I closed the door (I am not so complacent about the other beasts) and kept my hands on Josie’s ample form, just in case.
A couple of my neighbours were conversing, and of course talked to Josie. The Great White, normally my principal greeter of visitors, became rather flustered. She looked about her. This was not the Outside. She saw the Outside through the windows, yet the front door led to more Inside. What wizardry was this? There were walls and carpet, just like her home, but it was different; clearly not a real room, but not the wide world, either. Josie found herself in a bizarre world-between-worlds, a dimension not part of anything familiar. She wanted back Inside.
Once safely in the apartment again, my Chubs rubbed up against everything she could find, furniture, walls, cat-trees, me. This was home, this was familiar. It was a close call she had experienced, nearly trapped in an alternate reality she couldn’t comprehend. Since then, she has expressed no wish to go beyond the door, and waits farther inside the vestibule to meet me when I come home. The spirit of exploration had vanished.
This chastised attitude may not last. She may again wish to venture beyond the door. After all, that enigmatic corridor beyond the apartment surely can’t always be there, right?