Thursday, May 11, 2006

Henry

On the table there’s a coffee stain that won’t be rubbed away. It has attracted a modicum of dust, pinning it down to the table as if it were a photograph, a butterfly. Or a map to be pored over. When I leave the windows open it attracts the neighbourhood flies – possibly even some from out-of-town – and they suckle at the stain. I swat at them, open cupboards, pull out cloths and potions. Still it won’t be removed, no matter how hard I rub, what cleaning fluids I use. It always remains.

Idly, I stroke my cat, Henry. A ginger tom, I found him scavenging behind the bins at the back of our block of apartments. He followed me home and I didn’t have the heart to kick him out. I went around the local area, looking out for posters saying: LOST. GINGER. CAT. I saw none. That was over a year ago; we’re both too settled now that even if his ‘real’ owners knocked at my door Henry wouldn’t leave. I like to kid myself that this is the case.

Sometimes I wonder if Henry thinks the same as me. Sometimes.

Henry keeps the fly population down in the apartment. His paws a swat team. He casts me glances that suggest if I were to rid my table of the coffee stain then I would need to find another way to bring in the flies. When I stare at his eyes I list all the things that could bring in the flies, all those that he could be thinking about:


  • Left-over cat food

  • No changing his litter tray

  • Dragging the corpse of a dead animal – or person – into the apartment

  • Shitting in the corner.



I do none of these things, of course. Henry regards my failure with narrowed eyes and mewling mouth. He tastes me with his roughened tongue, sneezes, licks my skin again. It reminds me of when mother used to towel me dry after hauling me out of the bath. It reminds me of the days when I was carefree, young, innocent. It seems so long ago now.

I’m too tired to rub at the stain anymore. It’ll still be there tomorrow, attracting more dust, attracting more flies, attracting Henry.

9 comments:

purplesimon said...

I was sitting around, picking at a stain on the desk I am currently working at and thinking about a cartoon called Henry's Cat.

This is what came of it. I wrote it in my lunch hour instead of sitting in the sun.

Enjoy.

purplesimon out...

Kat said...

He sounds lonely.

ing said...

I think wax paper and an iron are in order. . .

This stain, is it blood, then? Or, what attracts flies?

This seems like the beginning of a story about the death of a pet, though who knows where it might go. Are you going to keep writing it?

Tanya said...

Not bad for a lunch hour and you've painted a very vivid picture here. I agree with Kat, though - sounds lonely.

lryicsgrl said...

Cats can be cruel, eh? But, I am sure given his choice, your cat would stay with you :)

BTW, regarding my b-day. I think I shamelessly plugged it on Rachel's blog and others. And, I didn't recall doing that. This blogging can be dangerous, at times, I write, as if no one is reading it; as if it is my private diary or journal. Obviously, A LOT of people are reading!!!
I accept your birthday wishes and thank you for them!!

PS I hope you get invited for TEA!

ginab said...

I'm so hungry right now Simon that I cannot comment on Henry! I cannot know bliss ;-).

It's good to hear from you tho and equally to be able to wish you and yours only the very best.

happy spring (to boot!)

-g+bb

Metalchick said...

Kat,
He doesn't seem lonely to me, as long as he has his cat.

Simon,
I think that the cartoon is a great idea, great story.

Tanya said...

Now your picture of you looks more like you!!!

ing said...

New.

Post.

Newpost.

Now.

God commands it.

He commanded you to create and then post a new post. He did. (His wife told him to.)