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I heard crying from the attic, that night. I did every night. And like with every night, I climbed up the ladder. It always happened to be open and welcome for anyone. Sat against the wall was the familiar lady. “Honey,” was what she was called by. Her face was buried into her knees. So softly, she cried. Why was she always so sad at this time late at night?
The attic was a gloomy, dark space. The only light came from a bulb that hung from the ceiling. Not even a single window to let some natural light into that room. Actually, there weren’t any windows in the entire house. Only a front door with an older-looking lock. The man, “Darling,” specifically made it that way. Everything was because of him. On a giant ring, there were three small, thin, shiny, sticks. I believe he called them “keys.” He carried them around everywhere. One was for the vehicle, one was for the front door, and the last was for the master’s bedroom door.
Only the man was able to go into the master’s bedroom. And me, too, of course. His bed was rather comfortable. Especially the vacant pillow next to him. However, the keys I would normally feel under the pillow weren’t so comfortable. I always found them so tempting to play with. What shiny toys. So dangly, too. But loud. The man would always scold me when I tried to toss them around.
Anyway, Honey didn’t notice me when I first entered the room. I trotted my way towards her figure. I cried and meowed for her. It always had a way of grabbing her attention. So abruptly, her face shot up. She looked awful with puffy, red eyes. She wiped the tears from her face and stroked me from my forehead to the start of my tail.
“I’m trapped with nowhere to go,” she cooed. “I try so hard to be a perfect wife. ‘A perfect wife should always have a smile on her face,’ he says. ‘A perfect wife should appreciate her husband and always show him affection,’ he says. ‘A perfect wife should cook delicious meals and keep the house tidy. A perfect wife should carry beautiful children. A perfect wife shouldn’t have to drive. A perfect wife shouldn’t go outside; it’s dangerous. A perfect wife shouldn’t talk to anyone but her husband. And a perfect wife should always obey her husband,’ he says.” Tears streamed down her cheeks once more. I hated seeing her so sad.
“But I don’t always have a smile on my face. I don’t appreciate my husband, I’m actually rather scared of him. I don’t want to show him affection. I’d like to eat someone else’s food for a change and cleaning all by myself is so tiring. I want to drive down an empty road at night, roll down the windows, and feel the cool breeze. I don’t want children yet, I want to go on adventures in this big, big world. Yes, I want to travel and see what this life really has to offer. My life is so empty, and my days are so lonely. I can barely find company in a man whose only role is as a working husband with a picture-perfect wife.’ A cat who doesn’t even understand this is my only comfort,” she sighed.
But my dear, sweet owner, I did understand.
Wiping the last of her tears, she whispered to no one in particular, “I’m merely a bird locked in a cage. Only there for show. Not given any real attention or loving care. It wasn’t that she wanted this, no. She was only misfortunate enough to be sold into this sort of life.”
She snapped out of her daze. “You see, I want to break free. I want out of this cage he calls a home. And I don’t ever want to obey my husband again. But I don’t really have an option, I guess.” I pitied her. Being cooped up in the same house, I understood her craving to be outside in the wondrous world. However, this was the only aspect of her troubled life I could relate to, for I didn’t have to please Darling as much as she. “Is there any chance you could help me?” she asked.
Oh, I wished I could. I hated your painful cries and calls for help. I would do anything to soothe them, much like you always have for me all these years.
She laughed at the silliness of the idea. It was rather forced. “Ah, I’m such a hopeless fool,” was all Honey said. And the room fell silent.
If only I could have helped her.
She stopped petting me and slipped into her bed. Her bed wasn’t nearly as comfortable as the man’s. With nothing left for me in the attic, I headed down the ladder and around the hall. At the man’s bedroom door, I scraped my claws against the hardwood floor and cried for him to let me in. After a few minutes of trying to wake him up, he begrudgingly opened the door. I purred as I stepped in, rather pleased with myself. I jumped onto the large bed as I watched him place the keys under my pillow. How annoying; I hated sleeping on those keys. He crawled under the covers while I took my rightful place on the plush, vacant pillow.
I tried to ignore them, I really did. But later in the night, the keys felt so sharp and irritating through the pillow. Annoyed, I got up to stretch my claws underneath. A claw caught onto the ring and I dug it out.
The keys were so fascinating. I loved how they dangled from the ring. I couldn’t help but paw at it a bit. Eventually I lost control and started to pat them around frantically, watching them dangle with glee. They were fairly loud, I was surprised I didn’t disturb the man’s sleep. Then again, I wasn’t sure how anything could get past his obnoxious snoring. I darted from the bed to the ground, where the keys fell. Feeling spastic, I continued to chase them around the floor, batting it with my paws. But it disappeared through the sliver of space under the door.
Then there was a still silence. Even from the man. He turned in his sheets. Slowly, he drifted back into a soft slumber. Faint snores emanated from under his breath. From the other side of the door, I heard footsteps from around the hallway. They stopped at the door. Looking through that sliver, I saw slippers next to the keys. I hoped she would slide the keys back under the door so I could continue playing with them.
“Thank you,” A voice so softly said, choking back a sob. She didn’t slide them under the door. As the man slipped deeper into sleep, the snoring that bellowed from him grew louder and louder. It drowned out the sound of the door being unlocked and opened.
I watched to door move ever so slowly. And on the other side stood Honey with a smile graced upon her face. It was the most beautiful smile. A genuine smile. The first time I’ve ever seen one on her. She scooped me up, so carefully. She closed the door, so quietly. She locked it.
Down the stairs, she tiptoed with me in her arms. Honey unlocked the door and stepped out onto the front porch. The cool, night breeze grazed over my fur. Pure bliss, it was. She locked the door behind us and walked to the car, where she unlocked it and set me down in the passenger seat. Taking the wheel, she drove out of the driveway and down the empty road. She rolled down the windows halfway and the outdoor breeze that was still so new felt refreshing. Her hair blew behind her face, revealing her lovely smile.
“Thank you for setting me free from my cage.”