I’m sat on the edge of my bed in the small room I pay for by cutting hair whenever the landlords’ gets too shaggy. He’s asked me to do his cat, but I’m not sure how the cat would feel about that. It’s hot and there is beer in the fridge but I have work to do so that’s that. I’ve been putting it off for years but have decided, rightly or wrongly, that now is the time.
It’s been 4 and a half years, to be more precise, since they died, together, in the same place, in an explosion at a sewage treatment works. And I suppose that at the time this event seemed too far-fetched in my mind for it to be real. So, it’s with some discomfort in mt heart that I admit that, rather than grief holding me back, it was the sheer weirdness of their deaths that kept me from paying my respects in the proper manner. In truth, I felt sorry for them and, without meaning to appear harsh, just a little embarrassed. How to word such a tribute, in such bizarre and loopy circumstances was, frankly, hard for me to fathom.
Of course, friends weren’t impressed. Some were downright angry. Others, females, cried at my perceived insensitivity. But what could I tell them?
I remember one girl in particular taking the whole thing very much in her stride. It was one of those things, as she said. She was quite the loner. People, I suppose, found her behaviour challenging. I recall walking out of the hospital after a blood test. The sun hammering down. And there she was, crouched by the side of the pavement, utterly inconsolable. I kept my distance, as I had ever since we’d first met at some card game arranged by someone I’ve never seen since. I stood some yards behind her. The sun was high and so there was little risk of casting a shadow. She noticed things like that. I see her begin to bash the ground with a half empty bottle of Dr Pepper, shaking her head and sobbing. At her feet was a dead bumblebee.
Her name was Cat. She was called Cat not because her name was Catherine, but because she was always taking in strays. She loved them all, I remember her telling me.
I digress though. And I have a rock in bowels.
I plant myself on the cool seat of the toilet and think about what to say. Of course, I will keep this to myself. Can’t have anyone knowing that I composed their obituary whilst trying to empty my bowels at the same time.
I hear my landlord talking to himself, or to his TV, or to his cat.
Then my phone buzzes in the pocket of my jeans that are around my ankles.
‘Lucy is dead. Hit by removals van. Life is so unfair. Would u write a little something?’
Then I hear my landlord again. ‘Good cat, good Cat; that’s the last we’ll see of him, ha ha…’
Then I have a crap.