Published: November 29, 2013
Updated: November 29, 2013 PrintEmail
The Parallel Dimension
We named her "Putz." It was the closest our two-year old ever came to calling her Puss. The name seemed to fit the cat. She answered to it when we called her, and if any of you ever had a cat, I'm sure you'll agree that getting a cat to come when you call is no easy matter.
The only time she wouldn't come was when she was looking at herself in the bedroom mirror. It fascinated her, and I often wondered what she thought of that image of herself. Did she recognize it as her own image or... maybe another cat, one that lived in a parallel dimension. I know she accepted the fact that the glass of the mirror was a transparent barrier that denied her access to that dimension... and also kept the cat in the mirror from getting into hers.
It was a puzzlement to me, and I couldn't help comparing it to the life of the two goldfish in our living room fish tank. They stared through a glass barrier into another dimension too. One they could not enter. They saw living creatures out there... but they were strange creatures, aliens in an alternate existence. There were no fish out there. Putz, on the other hand saw another cat behind the glass, and if that cat could live there, why couldn't she? There were times our two-year old stood behind Putz, and the two of them were reflected in the same mirror... both of them could see the other. The two-year old figured it out eventually, but I'm not sure the cat did.
I thought about it from time to time. In my idle moments... waiting for a train... in the dentist's waiting room.
Putz's fascination with the mirror… would she ever figure it out? Most cats, as they grew older, found better things to do. A mirror, like a television set, a computer or a telephone were things humans fiddled with, when their time might better be spent playing with them.
But a day finally came when our two-year old, (now three) came to me and asked, "Where Putz?" Together, we looked in all the familiar places. Food dish, litter box, even the little stool by the kitchen window she used as a perch to look at the birds in the back yard.
Then I got the strangest feeling...
Yes, I went to the bedroom mirror... and yes! There she was... on the other side. How can I explain that to a three-year old?