So I collected the cat today. The Boy won – her name is Kitty. Which suits her down to the ground. It’s just a shame she’s a sodding cat. Anyway.
The RSPCA took great care to explain that it could take her up to a month to settle in, that she might not even come out of her cat carrier today, that she probably won’t eat much for a few days.
She stalked straight out of the carrier and prowled around the room rubbing against stuff and purring. Then she spied the cat bowl in the kitchen and went and sat in front of it, staring pointedly at me until I filled it for her. She is ridiculously affectionate, surprisingly untimid and has taken up residence in the circus tent in The Boy’s bedroom, lying resplendent on a green satin cushion.
He is overjoyed that she has chosen his room for her bed, and went to bed uncomplainingly for the first time in ages tonight. She hasn’t come down all night. I am trying to be cool about it all, give her space, let her explore at her own pace – but I am itching to go up and scoop her up, bring her down here for a good lap session.
Her breathing really is bad. You don’t hear it in the cattery, with all the other noise. She sounds like she’s purring all the time, and her little shoulders go up and down with the effort of breathing. She’d better carry on doing it for a bit longer yet…
… I was much more interesting/less depressing when I was having regular sex. Sorry…
I really miss Dad tonight. It’s a new kind of grief. I’ve been so caught up in mourning what was, I hadn’t considered the loss of what should have been.
The Boy will never know him. He probably won’t even remember him as a real human being. Dad will never sing ‘Gilly, Gilly, Ossenfeffer Katsenellenbogen-by-the-Sea’ to him. My boy will never hear Dad sing anything, in fact, see him perform on stage, or an acoustic number in his living room. All of that future is gone.
Dad promised to buy his first guitar. That won’t happen now. And yes, of course I could use some of the inheritance to buy one in his memory and that would be a Very Nice Thing, but that’s not the point. Dad would have taught him to play it.
That’s the biggie. My boy has lost a grandparent. He’s too little to understand this, so I have to do the mourning for him.
And I will never hear more of Dad’s stories. Flesh him out. My parents divorced when I was 6-months old and I wasn’t close to Dad as a child. Wasn’t especially close to him as an adult really, until the birth of my son. (God, he was a proud Grandad. He loved The Boy. His first grandson…)
And of course I feel so horribly guilty about this, but it was a two-way thing. I am determined not to let it eat me up. It just meant we had some catching up to do. And that’s not finished. I haven’t finished getting to know my Dad properly, and now I never will. My memories of him are scant. The plan was to create new ones.
The last time I saw him, that was a good one. Just a rainy day around the house with The Boy. There should have been more of those.
The impossibility of that which should have been has only just hit me.
I went to a writing workshop run by one of my clients last week. Writers and account managers from 4 creative agencies, all of us there to pick up their new tone of voice guidelines.
I thought it would be a listening/taking notes kind of thing. Oh no. We had to do live writing exercises. Ugh. I am not a performing monkey. I craft, I consider (at work, at least – you guys get the stream of consciousness shit). And I HATE reading my work out loud to others. Double ugh.
So I did it, and then in the car on the way home, I indulged in a good half hour of self-loathing. WHY did I say that? Why did I behave like THAT? My copy was shit – and had to read it out to all of those PEOPLE! WHY am I doing this job? I am shit at it. God I was ANNOYING in that meeting. Why can’t I be less… ME?
I just wanted to crawl out of my own skin and die.
One of my friends has just started seeing an account manager from one of the other agencies there that day. I’d never met her before the workshop, and my friend and I caught up on the phone earlier this week.
“So you finally met X, then… She said you came across really well in that meeting. She really liked the way you tackled the copy exercises, the fact that you took a different approach, that you obviously thought about it. She really liked you – and she was impressed.”
It’s entirely possible she was being kind. Or that we were in different meetings. Or that she muddled me up with someone else.
I used to be confident about my pure writing skills. The conceptual side of my job always brings out the self-doubter/hater in me, but the writing comes easily. Which means it’s not something I’m especially proud of. There’s no effort involved, it doesn’t really stretch me.
And when you lose confidence in something that’s always come effortlessly to you, well… that’s bad.
I hope X was right.
PS. The cat survived her surgery. She only has 4 teeth left now though. Eep. She comes home next Tuesday…
You know what? Screw relationships and depression and death and anal sex (gotta slip it in, so to speak. I’m plummeting down the search rankings…). From here on in, I’m mostly going to write about cats. Because you know what the internet really needs? MORE CAT CONTENT. Look! I have a new ‘cat’ category and everything.
OK, perhaps not. I’m not going to be able to turn this ship around into the safe, lolsy waters of cats any time soon. The quite frankly juvenile use of the word ‘pussy’ in the title says it all. I am not, at heart, a pet blogger.
But I *am* going to blog about my pet now, to tell you that the vet saw her yesterday and said she’s now strong enough to go under general anaesthetic to have her teeth sorted, and I passed the RSPCA home check with flying colours tonight. Woo hoo! I can call tomorrow to arrange collection.
I haven’t ‘woo hoo!’ed in a long time. This is good. Though I wouldn’t say I’m feeling woo hooey in the round. Calm. I feel calm. And I certainly haven’t felt *that* for ages.
I have endlessly questioned nearly every decision I’ve made over the last year, exhausting myself by working through the options over and over again.
This is not like me at all. I am decisive. One of my big life mantras is ‘commit’. Make a decision. Making the wrong one is nowhere near as bad as making no decision at all and just letting stuff happen. Commit. This uncharacteristic tentativeness, this lack of direction, has driven me potty.
Like, when my husband first left, I got stuck in an interminable worrying cycle over The Boy’s new winter coat. I must have bought 10 or 12, bringing them home then returning them to the shop the next day because they weren’t warm/lightweight/waterproof/washable/green/blue/brown/soft/tough/fleecy/furry enough.
The Coat consumed my every waking hour. I actually cried on the lady in Mothercare at one point because I’d found the perfect coat and there wasn’t one in my boy’s size anywhere in the whole bastard world. Proper sobs.
My friend had to intervene in the end and come with me to buy Just One Coat. From Marks & Spencer, of course. And of course, The Boy survived the winter, as he would have done in any one of the 11 sodding coats that preceded it.
Yeah. I haven’t been confident in any of my decisions over the last year. Little things, like The Coat. Middling things, like The BoyChild. Fucking disasters, like HWSNBN. (Newbies, I can’t link to him in any specific way. He runs through this whole blog like the words in a stick of rock. Go have a snoop.)
But the cat? I am confident about her. I feel nothing but certainty when I think about her. She’s a good thing. She makes me feel calm.
Was ever such a burden of expectation placed on such slender grey shoulders?
I have adopted a cat. RSPCA homecheck willing, she’ll be with us in a week.
She’s old. About 12. A stray. Her teeth are manky and they’re not sure she’d survive an operation to mend them, she has terribly crackly lungs and her back is matted, scabby and dandruffy. But this is all cosmetic. She is inherently beautiful, an elegant, slender grey creature, full of affection, and she is coming to live with me.
I didn’t go looking for an older cat. She chose me. I went into her pen, and she licked me. A done deal.
I will heal my abandoned, broken, unloved self through this abandoned, broken, unloved cat.
And she will serve as receptacle for that flavour of love in me that can’t resist a lame, broken soul. I will pour all of that patient, gentle, well-meaning kind of love into her, and there won’t be any left over to fall for any lame, broken men.
She’s important, this cat. She marks a turning point.
A friend of mine buried his Dad last week. I sent him a text message on the morning of the funeral, just a short one to let him know I was thinking of him.
And then had to pull over on my way to work because I couldn’t breathe.
I’d been thinking about Dad’s funeral. Waking up at HWSNBN’s house on the morning and him not even remembering what I was doing that day. ‘Have a nice day’ were, I think, his parting words as I left the house.
Driving home. Getting showered and ready, doing my make-up. New waterproof mascara. Hair up or down? Putting my carefully chosen new dress in a suit cover thingy and driving to my brother’s house.
Us all getting ready there. These shoes, or those? This bag, or that?
Getting a taxi to Dad’s house. Waiting outside with all of his friends, drinking caps of whisky. The horse and carriage arriving carrying Dad – black horses, black plumes. Travelling behind in the limousine. Stopping traffic.
Getting to the crematorium to find pandemonium. Cars and people everywhere. The biggest funeral they’d ever held. So no-one has gone inside, and everyone watches us as we get out of the cars. Respectful silence. All eyes on us. Horrible.
In the crematorium. It’s so full. So hot. Dad’s best friend reading out words from me and his friends. My brother finding the strength to read for himself. And Dad’s voice, singing to us all. As if we could use any music but his.
At the wake. Pandemonium of a different kind. The ambulance arrives for the first casualty of alcohol at about 6pm. Standing in the bar at about 11pm, totally alone in a crowd, crying my eyes out. A little hand slips into mine. The teenage daughter of one of Dad’s friends. She leads me to the dance floor, and we dance. An actual angel.
How the FUCK did I do all of that? Make decisions about my hair, for fuck’s sake, remember to buy waterproof mascara. How on earth did I bury my Dad? I couldn’t do it now.
And different yet the same, seeing myself sobbing on the kitchen floor, the night my ex-husband left me. How the FUCK did I get up off that floor? He left. I asked him not to go, begged him to come to counselling with me, and he went anyway. And then 2 minutes later, came back. I thought he’d changed his mind. He’d just forgotten something.
How did I ever pick myself up off that floor?
People are stronger than they think.
It would be Dad’s birthday on Tuesday. I went up to see him with my brother today. We had a nice walk among all the gravestones, choosing one for Dad. It’s time. That marble, that typeface, NOT that gold lettering, those engraved flowers are actually quite nice, one vase thingy or two?
The decisions you have to make when you’re a grown up.