So there we were, face to face, after I rounded the corner of the house. I froze as my first thought was for my flip-flopped feet, then once my blue eyes went from your black eyes to the tip of your tail, and I saw no castanets threatening me with a tango I didn’t care to dance, I took in breath once more. Odd, the position you were in, ramrod straight, top half of your stripe painted body standing up, head tilted backward so you could keep an eye on me. I stayed still, watching you now with curiosity and amusement rather than fear. I wondered what kept you frozen, now that the initial moment of our encounter was past. Was it, like me, mere curiosity now rather than fear? Or were you still mistrustful of my motives? I have no database of knowledge of your kind to fall back on. You have no side-to-side tilt of the head, no ears raised or lowered, no tail that lifts or tucks between hind legs for me to read and know what you’re thinking. Yet your eyes never leave me, you never move. I still have your full attention, this much I do know. You needn’t fret. You’re just a baby, and headed underneath my house, where you’re most welcome to go, unheeded and unmolested. You probably don’t sense it, not even with a flick of your tongue, but I’m glad you’re here. It’s a strange sort of comfort to me. I’m aware that no rodent will breach the gates of your loyal sentinal’s watch. It gives us an unlikely kinship, but kinship all the same. I’ll be the first to break in our impromptu game of freeze tag. We both have more important things to attend.