Author: Hannah Smith
“Erm, I’m sorry, but I have a cat on my hand.”
Not a particularly disturbing sentence but when it’s said by the man you’ve just started having sex with for the first time, and you turn your head to find your black cat on their hand next to your head, well, it is a little disconcerting. Laughing, we encouraged her off the bed and then, eventually, out of the flat. It’s hard to navigate privacy when you live with a cat in a studio apartment. She started to scratch at the window to be let back in again.
“She’s going to hate me now.” He said, having been the one responsible for ‘letting’ her out of the flat.
I felt so guilty and judge me as much as you like, I do, but…well…it had been a year and well…I’m just a mere bloody human.
Cats know – it’s difficult to know what they know, for obvious reasons, but they know. Those big and mournfully sad eyes hold secrets about the universe even Einstein couldn’t imagine.
If you’ve ever been watched by a cat for more than a minute, and watched the cat back, you’ll know that the cat is trying to work out how to transfer its knowledge. They know.
And my cat knew.
“This is not just a one off thing.” He said as we woke the next morning, full of promise. As he kissed me the cat jumped through the window and onto the bed. We laughed. “I think my cat is cock blocking me.” I said.
We’d been talking online for a few weeks after we met whilst working on a project together, so we fell quite easily into familiarity with each other. It took me by surprise. I had been so closed off to the idea of meeting someone that when I did and found it so easy to open up to him, I half didn’t trust myself. Perhaps I just want someone, anyone. It felt too good that I may have found someone I really liked so easily, so effortlessly.
“I won’t let you down.” He said as he listened to my fears and doubts one night.
The cat settled herself between us, physically and metaphorically.
“You can’t know that.” I said.
“No you’re right, I can’t, but I know I’m not a cunt.” He said. (Oh don’t be alarmed, that is our pet name for each other.)
He drew me closer with his words; he’s very good at words.
“Stevie is so cute.” He said, as she nipped and clawed at the hand he had pushed onto her stomach, getting close before she was ready. Her tail flicked in discomfort before she put her claws in for real.
Stevie G cat is a cat of few words and those she has she uses very sparingly. She prefers to communicate by action – which, if we’re all honest with ourselves is in fact the only way we communicate. We use words but they fall flat very quick if they aren’t backed up with an action.
In the weeks that followed she would “arrive” through the window as the clothes were falling off, or jump on the bed as the kissing started, or curl up on top of him as soon as he had climbed on top of me. She did everything in her power to get in the way.
At night when it was just the two of us she would curl up next to my feet, purring as she nuzzled in, showing me the love I deserve, the quiet, silent kind that is just there.
“I can’t wait to see your face.”
“I can’t give you the attention you deserve right now.”
“You do so much for me I don’t feel I deserve you.”
The cat looked at me.
“You know.” She said with her wise eyes.
I let the kisses wash over me one last time; I let myself be held, I listened to the hollowness behind the words, I let them fall flat.
As I lay down on the sofa after saying goodbye, she climbed up and snuggled next to my heart and she stayed there until it started to beat a little slower and the tears dried on my cheeks.
“Timing is everything.” She said, “And he wasn’t ready.”
“I know.” I said.