Women And Cats
Afternoon sun is streaming in through the tiny lounge windows of our apartment on Baker street. Well, not ‘our’, now officially ‘mine’. She took the curtains too. The curtains, the television, basically everything that belonged to her. Just a week ago she’d been telling me how wonderful it was that we’d stayed together for three years. Then last night’s admission. That she’d been cheating on me for two of them. I was shattered. I had slept on the couch, more to prove a point than anything else. Now that I think about it, she should’ve left. She should’ve gone to be with him. Why had she stayed another night? One out of a million questions. I walk into the kitchen and discover that the fridge is missing too. How the hell had she managed to organise that?
I sit in the lounge as the light begins to fade. It seems strange, like a doctor’s waiting-room that looks just like my home. Any minute now a nurse will walk out and call my name. I’ll go into a little room and they’ll put me down.
“You’re miserable ALL the time.”
She said that. I had thought that my general state of melancholy was charming. I guess I was wrong. I wouldn’t say that I was miserable. I would say that I took a slightly dim view of reality. I would say that I was disinterested in joy. There’s nothing wrong with that? Well, clearly she thought there was. I suppose her other man is a circus clown. I bet she’s over there right now, watching him juggle balls while she laughs at his big red nose. Balls.
“We never have sex any more.”
She had me there. My sexual appetites had been a little on the low side. But why was that an issue? I’m sure the other man was helping her there. Sex isn’t really supposed to be a tag team sport is it? One at a time. I think that’s a good rule for sex. One at a time. Why complicate things? To be fair, I hadn’t known about the other man until last night, so my excuse wasn’t really valid. It’s not like she isn’t pretty. She’s very pretty. She has big blue eyes and a nubbin little nose and big pouty lips. She’s gorgeous. Sex just hadn’t been a priority.
“You just have no ambition.”
I’m sure I used to have ambition. I’m the best channel controller at my firm. I co-ordinate the workflow, I make the schedules, I make sure that everyone does everything the way it should be done. Why would I need ambition? I can’t exactly work my way up any higher? Yes, I’m not happy at my job. So what? Is ‘other’ man happy? I begin to wonder if he’s maybe something more glamorous. Maybe more glamorous than a clown. Maybe he’s the boss of all the clowns. Maybe he drives the clown car. I’ll bet that driving the clown car is way better than sitting in the back with all the hundreds of other clowns. He’s probably not a clown. He’s probably something far more amazing. He’s probably a lawyer.
“I can do better.”
Those words had stung a little. No, not really. They’d actually stung a lot. It seemed a bit odd for her to say that as if she was going to do better. Hadn’t she already done better? Two years. How had she managed to do that? How could I not have noticed that she’d been cheating on me for two years? It’s actually insanity. Of all the accusations she levelled at me, not once did she hint that I might be retarded in some way. I felt retarded. I felt like I should have known all along. I should have noticed somehow. I recall that the first year of the relationship was a pretty special time for me. I was elated that I even had a girlfriend like her. Someone who was pretty and smart. I got used to it. The idea settled. I suppose that if her behaviour had changed, I would’ve just passed it off as me finally getting used to the idea of having someone around. I had settled into a routine. All was good. My life was on track. I had finally found ‘the one’.
Two words to describe me right now? Alone and hungry. No, not alone, more lonely. I am now lonely. Lonely and starving. Should I even be hungry? Am I allowed to be hungry? The girl of my dreams, the one, the only, has left me. I should be running to the ends of the earth to get her. Climbing the highest mountain, etc. etc.
Instead, I sit here in the darkness. I’m probably paralyzed by fear. Yes, that’s it. More rejection is not what I need right now. Chances are that if I did go looking for her, I’d find her with Mister Perfect-pants. She’ll be with him, having happy, ambitious sex. That makes sense to me. He must be completely opposite.
The phone rings and I just about shit myself. It’s Charlie. Charlie is a designer. I answer.
“So, you okay?”
I’m just about to answer him when I realise that I haven’t actually told anyone about my situation yet. I’m suspicious.
“The situtation, obviously.”
Could Charlie really be this dumb?
“Who told you Charlie?”
“Uh… you did… at lunch, remember?”
I hadn’t told Charlie anything at lunch. Let the back-pedalling begin:
“Well, kind of with your face. You seemed down, I figured it must be about her.”
Too late Charlie.
“You’re her other man.”
Click. Conversation is over. Well, I suppose my original assumption is somewhat true. The other guy is the opposite of me. I’m fairly intelligent and clearly Charlie is fairly stupid. I could call him back but instead I just sit and stare into the darkness. Betrayed by the two people that are closest to me. The shock numbs me. No thoughts for the longest time. Hours seem to pass. Probably just minutes though. Time tends to over-dramatize moments like this.
Suddenly the phone rings again. This time it’s her. Do I want to speak to her? Not really. I kill the call and turn the phone off. Tonight I’m going to simmer. Tonight I’m going to sit and stew and simmer and hate them both. My righteous anger will somehow find form and seek them out. It will torture them for eternity and they shall never sleep again. Of course, if they never sleep again they’ll probably have a whole lot more happy, ambitious sex. How depressing.
Eventually I curl up into a ball and go to sleep.
I have a dream where a giant chimpanzee keeps trying to shit on me. Fortunately I seem to be able to move incredibly quickly. Unfortunately, the chimp seems to be able to match my speed. Also, as I mentioned, he’s giant. I eventually end up suffocating in a huge pile of crap.
I wake up gasping for breath. It’s 1 AM. I realise that the reason I hadn’t spoken to Charlie during lunch was because he wasn’t at work during lunch. The bastard was here, in my apartment, helping Beth move the fridge. The air is contaminated with their deceit. I feel that if I vomitted at this point, it would be justified. I don’t really feel sick though and it seems silly to force a vomit. I could just as easily lie and say that Charlie’s little deception makes me vomit without actually having to vomit. I wonder if I should just vomit anyway. It probably won’t help. I do a quick test. I make the vomit face and try to heave. Nope. Nothing.
I lie down on the couch again. I begin to think about the past. I met her on an internet dating website. I’d been out of the dating game for several years and I felt that I needed to jump in and get a girlfriend. She was the first girl I’d met and we hit it off instantly. She had this strange way of making me feel at home. I felt like I could just be myself. My miserable, unambitious, sexless self. I guess I was wrong. She’d obviously been looking for someone more like Charlie. He’s a happy all the time. Nothing gets him down. He’s enthusiastic and extremely passionate. Every design he does is a masterpiece (to him). He loves his work, he loves his art, and he loves my girlfriend. Ex, I remind myself. My ex.
Anyway, back to the past. For the first few months we saw each other every day. We were in love. We couldn’t get enough. She loved my dry sense of humour and I loved her breasts. Oh, and her personality. But mainly her breasts. No, I lie. I loved everything about her. She amazed me constantly. She seemed to know so much about everything. The best girl in the world.
The spell is broken by the sound of forlorn meowing at the door. I get up and let Mr. Bojangles in. She left my cat at least. Mr. Bojangles is a female Bengal. I am rather rubbish at identifying cat genitalia and the name Mr. Bojangles was something she had already begun responding to by the time I’d figured out she was a girl. Back on the couch, she climbs on my lap and begins to purr instantly. If someone else fed her, she’d love them just as much. It wouldn’t take much. She’d forget me.
Women and cats.