Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Cat Stalker

When she broke up with me, I took a hammer to every last piece of Swarovski crystal in my house. She'd liked it, with it's twee little seals, just begging for a clubbing; with those stupid flowers forever trapped in crystal, halfway between blossom and bud; with all their silly little facets casting tiny rainbows around the room. I smashed them into jewel-like fragments, and then pounded them into dust.

An hour later, I admitted I had a problem, and that that wasn't a rational way to react to someone breaking up with you. I booked an emergency appointment with my therapist, and spent the rest of the afternoon in a darkened office talking through my obsessive behaviour, and how it had poisoned my relationship with Cat, and how it had culminated in a house covered in crystal dust. I coughed a fair bit too, crystal dust is bad for the lungs.

My therapist, who doesn't realise that I can read what he's writing in the mirror he has me face during our sessions, wrote FREAK in capital letters several times as I told him about watching Cat sleep, drawing pictures of her on the back of all the artworks in my house, and spending several thousand pounds on Swarovski crystal, which I hate, because she said she liked an owl they made.

Finally I stopped talking, exhausted and emotional, and just lay there on his faux-leather chaise longue, watching motes of dust dance in the beams of sunlight that penetrated the slatted blinds.
"I think," he said in a measured voice with a slight european accent, "that you should consider surgery. There's a new procedure, slightly experimental, called a Erosectomy. It will remove your obsessive love from you, and give you a chance to experience a more-normal kind of life. It's reversible, so you can take your love back when you find a balance."

I agreed. I had nothing left to lose at that point, and I hoped that without my obsession I would find it easier to get over Cat.

The surgery was done under local anaesthetic as an outpatient at St. Thomas's hospital by a young doctor who couldn't remember his own name and kept picking up tools and asking the nurse what they were called. When he'd finished he handed me a large jar that seemed suffused with a purple haze, and told me that that was all my love. When I ready to take it back, I just had to open the jar and breathe the contents in. "Take a deep breath," he said, "some people find that love is hard to swallow." I tried not to snigger; the nurse failed and ended up laughing loudly.

"My, but that's a big one!" said the receptionist as I left, and I wondered briefly if my life was being scripted by Frankie Howerd.

I put the jar on the mantlepiece when I got home, so that I wouldn't lose it. It had been there all of 10 minutes before Oscar, my cat, pushed it off. I heard the smash in the kitchen, and came into the living room, curious as to what Oscar had done now, and found him stood over the remains of the jar. For a few moments I could swear that he seemed suffused with a purple haze, but then it faded.

I wasn't really all that upset; I felt much calmer, and I could think about Cat without feeling upset, or worried, or concerned that she didn't like me very much any more. It was much, much easier. I quite liked it.

I was woken by an angry banging on my front door the next morning, and when I answered it, dressed in an old smoking jacket I'd bought in my Noel Coward phase, Cat was stood at the front door holding Oscar and looking angry.
"He was stood on my chest, staring into my eyes when I woke up!" she said glaring at me. She thrust the cat into my arms.
"I'm sorry," I said, "he usually goes out at night, I had no idea he knew where you lived."
Cat opened her mouth, then closed it again, and folded her arms. "He doesn't, does he?" she said. "You never brought him over."
"I'm sorry," I said again. Oscar seemed to be staring at her still. "I'll keep him in for a few nights so that he forgets."
"You don't seem yourself," she said abruptly. "Shouldn't you be telling me I should take you back?"
"Cat," I said gently, turning away, "you said it was over. Let's not bring this up again." I pushed the door shut behind me with a foot, and took Oscar into the kitchen.

I kept him locked in for the next few days, ignoring his protests, and then let him out again when I thought he'd have forgotten his nocturnal adventure. Everything was quiet for a few days, and then when I arrived home from work late in the evening, Cat was on my doorstep holding Oscar again.
"He's been coming to my office and pawing through the papers on my desk," she said. "I've been in Norwich for a few days, I only found out when my colleagues asked me when I got the cat."
"That's a bit strange," I said, looking straight at her. "And, to be honest, it doesn't sound very plausible either. Cats don't do that kind of thing."
"What are you saying?" she said, her eyes widening in surprise. I remembered how cute I'd found that once; now it seemed manipulative. I wondered if it could be both.
"Cat, you broke up with me. Please stop bringing Oscar over; I think we time apart. Maybe we can be friends later, but for now, let's not be enemies."
She slapped me. I'm not sure how she kept hold of Oscar, but he stayed in the crook of her arm, his head pressed against her breast, purring gently.
I put my hand up to my stinging cheek, and shook my head. "Seriously, Cat," I said. "Let it go."
I reached for Oscar, who starting purring more heavily and tried to hold on to Cat.
"You're weird!" she said. "I think I almost like you again, but you're weird!"
"And you think you're being stalked by my cat," I said.

She left, and I took Oscar back inside. I was certain she was being stalked by my cat, but I didn't have the emotions left to deal with it.

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