“So, Foster, what did he say?”
I had just finished talking to our cousin Inky on Skype, and Panda had been eagerly waiting to know the outcome of our conversation.“You won’t believe it, Dude,” I replied, still amazed at what I had learned. “I think Inky and I live in a parallel universe!”Panda looked puzzled. “A parallel universe?” he asked. “What’s that?” I looked at him, trying to think of how to reply. “Well,” I began, “it’s where everything in your world is just like everything in someone else’s world.” Panda still looked puzzled. “Everything in my world is just like everything in your world,” he countered. “So do we live in a parallel universe too?” “No,” I replied, jumping down to the carpet by our play tunnel. “We already live in the same world. That’s different. Let me explain.”
“You know how we like to play in this tunnel? Well, it turns out Inky and Maggie have a tunnel almost like ours!” Panda nodded. “Oh…” he said, “I think I get it now!”
“And does he have his own den like we do?” he asked. I replied in the affirmative.
“He actually has two,” I added. “Apparently Aunt Gail takes lots of pictures of him just like Mom does of me!” Panda nodded in approval. “So what else did he tell you?”
“It looks like he and Maggie share their den just like we do,” I answered. “I guess they’re best friends too.”
“Plus,” I continued, “Inky and Maggie have some of the same kitty toys that we do.”
“That’s cool,” Panda replied. “Does he like doing the same things as you around the house?” I showed him a picture Inky had texted me on Mom’s phone. “Apparently so,” I said. “Look at this!”
“Inky likes to help Aunt Gail when she puts sheets on the bed. You know I’ve always helped Mom with that job myself.” Panda studied one of the photos Inky had sent. “Hey, it looks like some of my long lost relatives might be at Aunt Gail’s!” he exclaimed.“Well, we’re not going over there to find out,” I said authoritatively. “Remember when we went to see if he could come to Egypt with us? Or was that Yosemite?” Panda nodded. “I think it was Yosemite. And he said his mom doesn’t like him to do adventurous things?”
“Well,” I said confidentially. “Just so you know, he finds ways to be adventurous when his mom isn’t looking. Turns out he likes being up high just like me.” Panda concurred. “True,” he replied, “but Mom made you those shelves. I doubt if Aunt Gail put that ledge up on the stairs for Inky to play on.”
“Those stairs come in handy for playing Zoo,” I said. “It would be fun if we could go back to the San Diego Zoo and bring Inky, wouldn’t it?” Panda agreed. “But I think it will have to be awhile,” he said a bit glumly. “We’re still pretty much on Social Distancing.”
“I guess you’re right,” I said. “Well, at least we have those six feet between us and everyone else, so we get to stretch out as far as we want for our naps.”
“Hey!” Panda exclaimed. ‘”He even has the same fountain as you!” I shook my head. “No, it’s the same fountain, Bro,” I said. “Inky wasn’t that crazy about it so he gave it to me.” Panda laughed. “Well, I think you liked it too much, since you’re grounded from it now!” I frowned. “Well, it was fun to take apart. What can I say?”
“One thing about you guys,” Panda observed, as we scrolled through more photos. “You’re both the masters of disguise.” I agreed. “Yeah we’re both pretty good at hiding, aren’t we?”
“Turns out neither of us likes to be in our cat carriers,” I added. “Hey, doesn’t Inky’s carrier look a lot bigger than ours?”
“Now that’s funny,” Panda said, changing the subject. “It looks like Inky loses his toys under the fridge, just like you do with the blue dresser!”“Well, you’d better be glad you can’t fit under there,” I replied. “Amen to that!” Panda said with gusto.
We both laughed when we compared Inky’s baby pictures with mine. “You guys were both pretty cute,” Panda commented approvingly.
“Another thing about us is that we both have really big, green eyes,” I mentioned casually. Panda nodded. “Yeah, that is really weird,” he said. “I think you’re right about this parallel universe stuff.”
“Aww!” I said when we found these two photos. “Inky even sleeps with his stuffed bear!” Panda looked a bit miffed. “I don’t see what’s so parallel about that,” was his reply.
“Never mind,” I said. “Let’s look at more pictures. I’m amazed at how much Inky and I have in common!” Panda agreed.