The tiger on my bed
I awoke to an unfamiliar weight on the end of my bed. The duvet felt glued to me. My eyes don’t always open that quickly most mornings, I can promise you, but on this particular morning they were desperate to take in their surroundings. As the bleary world crept through the pin holes of my pupils so my drowsy brain took a few moments to catch up.
It was a tiger.
It was an unusual event for me, if I am honest. I had never had a tiger, or a big cat of any sort, on my bed. I was a bit nonplussed. I lay still. My options were considered. They seemed to consist of being eaten. That was not what I had planned for the day. And, you can ask anyone, I do like a plan.
I pondered what I could salvage from the day if I had to stay in bed for much longer. There was the coffee morning I had arranged to visit. My library books needed returning. My started loaf of bread was curling at the edges. That meant I would need to visit the supermarket too. That was before I even thought about the afternoon quiz shows I had circled in the TV Guide.
Even with the presence of this menacing creature, I still had my morning routine to see to. I resolved to get up. But, as soon as I twitched, a low grumble came from the foot of the bed. This was a problem. If I couldn’t get up then, obviously, I couldn’t get on with my day. That would never do.
An instinct took over and I stretched out a hand without really thinking about it. My fingers touched the fur at the peak of its ear. The rumble seemed to fade away. The tiger looked at me through heavy lids, seemingly content with the tentative scratch I was giving it. When my fingers began to ache, I could take it no more. I shuffled across and out of the bed.
The tiger sighed and I heard the mattress springs ping as it lay flat out and content.
When I emerged from the bathroom, I thought that the steam had stopped me from seeing properly. There was no sign of the tiger. I wondered if I had been still dreaming when I had got up. Naturally, it was a relief to not have a large carnivore in the bedroom, particularly whilst I got dressed. Rather throwing my clothes on, after all it was getting a little late for my morning cup of tea, I made my way downstairs and into the kitchen.
The tiger was in there. It was staring pointedly at the fridge. It seemed only right to ignore such rudeness, so I put the kettle on. With a shaking hand, I put my favourite mug on the counter and plopped a teabag in it. Still, the tiger watched every move I made.
“I suppose you want breakfast?” I asked the tiger.
It looked at me greedily. That was the only answer I got.
A few minutes later, bacon, sausage and eggs were cooking in the pan. It smelled quite nice but my customary muesli still seemed more fitting for me. My guest was watching me with even greater intensity now. The drool was hanging from its jaw, crystal-clear and viscous. The shaking in my hands was getting even worse.
I plated up the meal. Whilst it looked as if it would be rather a feast for me, it didn’t seem too much to give a wild beast. Instinctively, I put the plate on the floor. The tiger gave me what my grandmother might have called ‘an old fashioned look’. After dithering for a while, the solution became clear. Once the plate was on the table, opposite my modest bowl of muesli, the tiger ate greedily. When the food was gone, the tiger licked its lips, seemingly content despite the small amount it had eaten.
I sipped my tea. The tiger seemed to decide it was time for a doze and slumped to the floor, satisfied . Cautiously, I got off my chair, ready to wash up. The tiger grumbled as my feet tiptoed over its massive paws. I sighed; it really was getting too much. As the dishes soaked in the soapy water, I chose to switch the wireless on in order to relax.
A rather catchy tune came out of the speakers. It was rather vulgar but my mood lifted with its jaunty melody and skipping beat. I must confess that it had me jigging on the spot. It took a moment to realise that there was something else marking the beat other than the bass drum. A deep thump-thump sounded behind me. The tiger was twitching its tail in time to the tune.
A little smile stole onto my face. I turned to continue my chores.
I must confess, the heavy paw that landed heavily on each of my shoulders rather alarmed me for a split second. But then I felt myself being moved in synchronisation to the rhythm. It may have been the shock but I could swear the tiger’s hips were moving. As we began to match movements the sharp teeth closed over the fingertips of one of my rubber gloves. Gently, delicately, it ripped them off, first one glove then the other was removed.
The dancing became freer. My reserves began to melt away.
At one point, just as the music began to swell, my partner worked a little jump into our choreography. We flew through the air. It as tremendous. It was marvellous. The air rushed past as we soared. I was having so much fun that I only just about noticed the terrible amount of dust on top of the fridge. Such a mighty leap. Up, up, up we went.
However, we did not come back down.
I expected to feel the bump of the ceiling on my head. But, it had gone. The air was humid and full of exotic birdsong. All around us were the dense, vivid greens of the canopy in a rainforest. The heat draped over me like a drunken suitor. Up, up, up. Still our ears were filled with the glorious music.
Through the branches. Into the feathery, ticklish leaves of the forest canopy. Up, up, up.
We burst out, a fountain of iridescent butterflies welcoming us to the splendour of the azure sky. We danced on. Twirling our swirls in the hot, compulsive scorch of the Asian high noon. On we danced, above the green spread of forest, above the purple, heavy bulk of the mountain ranges and framed by the faithful sky.
It grew dark. Galaxies crowded the space above us, all desperate to watch us. The moon smiled in silver beams as it passed by. Up, up and up. Still we danced.
Day, night, day, night. The sky grew dark and cooling and with blessed rain did pour love on us. Matching the drum breaks, the thunder resonated. All was in time with our music. Everything moved to the way we grooved.
Up, up, up. Still we danced.
Up, up, up.
Still we danced.
And, still, we dance.