Mildred's relationship with her cat had taken a significant turn for the worse in the past few months, degenerating to the point it had started treating her with open resentment. In recent days the creature would sit on its perch by the window surveying her with a sullen contempt, an attitude that settled into begrudging acquiescence only when she ventured to change its litter or feed it a snack.It was hard to say when exactly the shift had occurred, but it probably dated to the cessation of her academic leave and the reversal of her and her husband's schedule. Even since March she had been working routinely from her downtown office while Philip spent most of his time at home handling domestic matters and working on his home business. But even if that was the cause of the change, what exactly had triggered it. Feelings of betrayal, or loneliness?