Phillip yells. Not often, but when he yells…it’s as if Mount Vesuvius has erupted. He’ll suppress the anger inside of him for weeks…or even months. And then…Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick… Boom. Once, my sister Joan and my across the street neighbor Tully came over to help me scatter the ashes of my cat. The kids were at camp and fifteen year old Geronimo had meant just as much to Joan and Tully as she had to me. Phillip elected not to participate… claimed he had a presentation to finish. No worries. His loss. Both literally and figuratively. We scattered Geronimo around the garden and then Joan, Tully and I drank two bottles of champagne and toasted the life of this ridiculously miserable cat whose voice sounded like a perpetually scratched record. Tully and Joan left, a little worse for the wear, but not much. Joan is close to 200 pounds and holds her liquor brilliantly, and for god sakes, Tully lives across the street. Well, Phillip flipped out. He started ranting about the two empty champagne bottles and the fact that if Joan was stopped by the police, it would be his fault.  I watched his body pulsate and his eyes bulge and his face turn crimson as he harangued and spewed and even foamed at the mouth like…like a rabid dog. That was it. A rabid dog. If you fight back, a rabid dog just becomes angrier. So I sat there and listened, watching him run in circles chasing his tail. See, I knew that it wasn’t about the champagne. It was about the fact that I have close friends. Women have close friends. Soulmates, with whom they can share intimate confessions, companionship and moments like burying a dead cat. Men have…well, men just yell.

©Colette Freedman