Careless Whiskers…

It transpires that I’ve made an error of judgement… It’s all rather grubby..

The recognition really only struck me as I reclined in my chair and pushed away the cardboard recepticle in which had lately resided one large cod and chips. Having earlier finished my last Baghdad cigar in the unexpected sunshine, and having also endulged in a solitary pint of Harvey’s, I daresay the mixed miasmas in my threadbare Georgian precincts were fittingly Hogarthian – though more disreputably Gin Lane than Marriage a la Mode…. That having been said, the cat didn’t seem to mind at all… He was as affectionate as ever. All over me, in fact. It was rather unseemly…

Earlier, whilst I was at the pub, I read an article in the Guardian’s Sunday supplement about a woman who’d been raised by monkies. (I think her foster family have been writing some of their political commentary this week, but I digress.) You see, the lady had found companionship with animals. They had hugged her in her hour of need, picked nits out of her hair and shared their bananas. Animals can be very obliging when you’re at a low ebb… I think they have an eye to the main chance, and I realise now, the same’s happened with me. The cat has well and truly got his claws into me…

With my wife and daughter away in the New World, I’ve been fending for myself these past four weeks. Yes, just me against the wilderness of washing machine and ‘WIGIG Wall’ (the local inconvenience store’s, ‘When It’s Gone It’s Gone’ discount aisle). I quite like shopping, actually, and it’s also a chance to banter with the checkout girls, always so full of effervescent aphorisms, like, “Would you like a bag?” or “Any cash-back…?”… I did venture an insouciant, “As long as it’s not my own!” yesterday, but through the mental opacity of a Saturday morning hangover, I might as well have been reciting Virgil to Debs at till one. Though that would have been incomprehensible, unfunny and poorly conjugated, so that’s not a great analogy. But let’s not get tied up in trifles. Or, maybe ‘bogged down’ in trifles. Anyway, how we do laugh…

Thankfully, if I can’t find companionship at Bludgeons, I have had an ever-ready companion in my cat. This last month, we’ve set aside many of our differences and actually grown rather close. I’ve ceased to upbraid him for showing off, and have even begun to tolerate his attendance on the dinner table, next to my plate, ogling my food. I seek his counsel on many of the small affairs of the day and tend to give him a running commentary of my inclinations and pending actions: “I think I’ll have a cup of tea” or “now, I must go to the post office later.” In a somewhat pitiful way, I suppose he’s taken up the mantle of my wife… Not only is he the first ‘person’ I greet in the morning, we eat together and lounge together. He also frequently joins me when I’m on Skype to my parents, though admittedly, he doesn’t say much.

Anyway, that’s the rub, you see. Inadvertantly, I’ve reordered the social hierarchies of the happy home… I’ve realised that not only has he become my trusted confidante, he’s also been my faithful dining companion for a whole month, which is presumably centuries in cat years. He’s invested in this relationship… I suppose, I’ve lead him on… We’ve been thrown toghether in adversity, and little by little I think the boundaries have been blurred… Most worryingly, perhaps, I’ve caught myself addressing him by my wife’s litany of pet names…

The problem is, Mrs D is home in a few days. She has an instinct for these things, she’ll know immediately that something’s been going on. Not exactly infidelity… I mean, it was just companionship… One thing just lead to another… I mean, what was I supposed to do? I was lonely!

I’m already trying to cool things off a little and he can sense I’m being aloof, I know. I’m just hoping he doesn’t make a scene. I can probably keep the cat off the table and reallocate his spot on the sofa, so I might get away with my dalliance yet…

Just as long as I don’t call my wife, “Tiddles”…

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