The Tiger
at Your Door

Written by Lin Stone
Entire Contents Copyright 1999  
by Browzer Books
All rights to original works are reserved for the creators

Last night I dreamed that I left the front door open. Perhaps I left the door open to let out the smoke as I was cooking supper. It was steak, smothered with garlic and tomatoes, with green chiles, a delicacy at the house of Aqui.

A thump at the door turned my head and I looked.

The head of an inquisitive tiger was pushing the door farther open. My heart dropped through my toes.

I go out of my way to play with little tigers.
Dale0032.jpg (19210 bytes)
Teaching people how to play 
with little tigers is part of my job. 

Unfortunately, this particular tiger weighed about 1,300 pounds.
That is six times as much as I weigh.
Pound for pound, tigers are twenty times as strong as a man.
You put those figures to the calculator and you'll understand why I felt slightly disadvantaged even though my brain was allegedly bigger than hers.

Tigers can bring down a water buffalo in the wild. India has recorded cases where tigers attacked elephants, and enjoyed Elasteaks. With several other urgent excuses for my inhospitable behavior also coming to mind, I leaped for the door, caught the knob and slowly squeezed it shut as the puzzled tiger withdrew. I could almost hear her asking as the door closed: "It is time to eat. Why are you shutting me out?"

I woke up then, 
shivering with fear and dread, 
and oozing gratitude all at the same time. 

I checked the door, thinking I had left it open and that the reason for the dream.  It was locked. As I gazed through the peephole I saw all the tigers were still well-fed and at peace in their pens.

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Tigers purr after they are fed.

As I laid back down I thought of the words of the dream tiger when the door closed. "Why are you shutting me out?"  I realized that in my dreams you were that tiger pausing behind my door.

Tigers do indeed come in all sorts and fashions in this life.

Letting the guards down, opening the door, inviting someone into our lives; all these take courage. My mind went fast forward to the day you would be here, coming in for your first bowl of unbuttered pop corn, and I was sore afraid.

Some tigers don't appreciate pop corn for supper,
and I was out of pizza.

You may remember there was a story going around in English classes back when we were but foolish youths. The haughty king discovered his daughter was in love with a common man, far beneath her station. He fashioned an arena with high seats for him and his daughter. At the far end were two doors.

He pointed to the doors and told his daughter. "I'll give George the chance to live. Behind one door I will place a tiger ready to leap out and make him her poor excuse for supper when he opens the door. Behind the other door will be a beautiful woman ready to immediately make him her wealthy husband.

"George will not know which door harbors the tiger with the golden stripes, and which will deliver the beautiful babe with all the gold coins.  Why, the entire kingdom will be betting on the outcome and I'll be famous for centuries."

On the appointed day the lover was ushered into the arena and faced the king who carefully explained the nature of the little game George was playing for the multitude. George lifted his eyes to the princess and the message in her eyes plainly told him that her spies had indeed discovered which door to open. Without a word he turned, then strode to the door on his left and yanked his destiny open.

The question was, and is; Which destiny did the princess send him to? Did George trust the answer she gave him, or did he go to the other one? Did the king suspect his daughter would spy out the answer and decide to turn it upside down for her own good?

Which one did poor old George see come out the door,

Time to face your Tiger

The tiger who loved to shred old tires to pieces?

Or the Lady who wasn't very tired yet?

As I laid there and thought of our wedding day I wondered which would come through my open door this Friday.

The tiger,
or the lady?

Worse yet, I wondered if I could tell the difference before I opened the door of my heart?

As I laid there pondering yet farther, I suddenly realized that you would be asking a similar question:

"Do I go in only to discover far too late that I have put myself once again beneath yet another tiger's massive paw? Or is this really the gentle giant he pretends to be who raises jolly green beans on the verdant back forty?"

Then as dawn finally approached, I remembered your last hesitant words. "Well, I have bought the tickets for our honeymoon. Now you are stuck with me." And I remembered wishing that I was stuck with you for time and all of eternity.

As our wedding day approaches I hope you have faced your own tiger at the door, and have even now drifted off again to sweet dreams of joining the gentle giant who raises jolly green beans on his verdant back forty home on the Tiger Preserve.

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the end

Lin Stone is the author of How To buy Land At Tax Sales, produced by Truman PublishingBrowzer Books has published three other books by Lin Stone:  Short Stuff, Tales From the Light Side and Water, Water.  As an editor Lin has organized several more books.  This article, and many more are available for reprint.  Click HERE for instructions.  

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