‘Catastrophes’, by Lily Mei

Photograph by ricciofix. Reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic Licence.

Saturday

Got a cat yesterday. One of those designer pusses: a tiger cat with glassy green eyes, real fixed-like. Looks at me a lot. Like he senses me but can’t see me. Told cat [jokingly] that it’s rude to stare. Cat kept staring. Made me feel odd.

Puss [Stop calling cat puss. Too suggestive. Try kitty?] Kitty Cat is good distraction but a bit naughty. Rips clothes and hides under couch til I leave. [Just misunderstood?] Only researched stuff about cats once I’d bought cat. Beginning to think owning cats requires commitment. Responsibility. [What have I gotten myself into?]

Wednesday

Cat purrs a lot and cleans excessively. That’s normal for cats, though. [Right?] Still, self-indulgent. Boring. I’d like if he came and curled up in my lap, purred when I patted. [How do you teach a cat to be affectionate?]

Still, pretty cat.

Thursday

Met boy [man?] at café. Name: Leo. Keeps his hair smooth and neat. Hair hangs close to unblinking green eyes. Felt naked under his glare. [Seriously. This guy does not blink.]

Wouldn’t mind being naked under his… linen. Probably has designer sheets with high thread count. [500? 600?]

Monday

Dating Leo. [Read: went on date with Leo.]

Thursday

Fucking Leo. [Read: received first booty call.]

Saturday

Not dating [was never proper dating] but still fucking [so good] Leo.

Thursday

He cums and goes as he pleases. Still don’t know what suburb he lives in. Still no idea what thread count his sheets are. [For the record, mine are Egyptian cotton, 500.]

Friday

Came home to Leo in my bed [cute].

Tuesday

Leo really needs to get a job.

Thursday

Came home to Leo in my bed with another woman [girl?]

Was going to vomit. Was going to cry.

“Oh babe, you’re home.”

Girl was kneeling on the floor. Knees resting on my rug.

My rug.

“Don’t be rude, babe.” Leo was butt-naked, cock dangling at least, not hard.

Hurled profanities, variations on a common theme: said, “fuck,” and “cunt,” a lot.

Told them to leave. Told him his face is a “mangled dick.” Told her she was… I can’t remember.

Girl sat on bed. Told her to get off my Egyptian cotton, 500 thread count sheets: “that bed is clean.”

“Was.” She looked to the corner of the sheets.

More of the same profanities: “Get your cunt off my fucking bed.” Etc.

Leo’s green eyes had strange glint. “Did you want to join babe?”

They left, eventually. Together, unfortunately.

Tuesday

Cat has disappeared indefinitely. Estranged.

Thursday

Headline: LIVING CREATURE AT A LOSS WITHOUT ME.

Byline: who gives a fuck.

Understand cat is still alive. Neighbours give it tea and [undeserving] sympathy when it comes to their back doors. Apparently, cat has started looking scrawny [neighbour said “peaky”]. Satisfied knowing cat is wasting away since leaving me.

No longer my dependent = no longer my problem.

Saturday

Started dating another guy. Exclusively, this time.

Attributes: nice, honest.

Flaws: too nice. Over-compliments. [Over-compensating?]

e.g. “Hey beautiful.”

“Hi Gus.”

“You look beautiful tonight.” [Note: buy Gus thesaurus.]

Monday

Bought Gus a thesaurus. Has broadened vocabulary. e.g.: “The moon [interchangeable with the sun] is stunning [beautiful] tonight [today]. Almost as beautiful [magnificent] as you.”

Wednesday

Forgot to mention: got a dog last week.

Attributes: gentle, adoring, beautiful, nice.

Flaws: enthusiastic, too enthusiastic. Needy.

Tuesday

Dog is settling in well.

Wednesday

Story of why I got dog: Mum thought I needed companionship.

Story of how I got dog: Mum found dog, introduced me to dog. Dog liked me, mum liked dog, me indifferent to dog, voilà: new pet.

Dog is Labrador type. Wanted Dachshund or Dalmatian type. The types you see on TV or ads. e.g: Peter Alexander, 101 Dalmatians. Interesting dogs, not family ones.

This time at least knew what I was getting myself into: commitment, responsibility.

Monday

Cat came back today.

Tuesday

Realised today dog is surprisingly plump. [Overfeeding or body type?] People think it’s endearing the way he wags his tail. Tail wags then whole body moves. I don’t like it.

When dog comes near, feel like I’m being pushed over into side of wall by something underwhelming. A thud of soft weight. And he just stays there, next to me. All happy.

Happy when I’m grumpy [piss off.] I’m grumpy because he’s happy [I’m tired, okay.]

Dog is malleable. Dog shows no resistance. Maybe I just want a fight.

Wednesday

Hate fucking cat. Die. [Harsh. Don’t really wish death on anyone.]

Thursday

Dog got into fight with cat. Dog left whimpering in the corner. [Prelim signs of backbone.] Cat started rubbing its body along my ankles. Bunting, or whatever you call it.

Cat hissed at me [fair enough, did kick it] and backed into corner. Attended to dog: “Shh.”

Put his face in my hands and gave him kiss on forehead. Inspected paws knuckles. Like I knew what I was doing. He whimpered. Whimpered. Whimpered.

Turned to cat: “Leo, you need to leave.” Passed frozen peas to dog Gus.

Leo: “No.”

Me: “What do you fucking mean, ‘no’?”

Leo: “What about my frozen peas?”

All: Ignore.

Found First Aid Kit at bottom of cupboard in living area.

Back in kitchen: slammed bandages, ointment and disinfectant on table. Opened the freezer and pulled out blue brick-block of ice. Threw block at Leo. Leo dodged missile. [Dirty] plates beside sink smashed. Shrapnel everywhere. [At least don’t have to worry about doing dishes.] Cat and dog both quiet [for little while.]

[Note: buy new plates.]

“Gus, you’re not bandaging your own hand. Give it here.”

Wrapped cloth round and round: round wrist, ’cross palms, between fingers, like the wraps I do for boxing. [Pretty useless. Not St Johns-approved wrap and a bit tight.]

Ran upstairs to grab perfume and underwear.

Left Gus and Leo in apartment.

Right now, writing from park bench under street lamp. It’s cold, poorly lit. Don’t know why I decided to leave safety my apartment.

Park = space. Space = good.

Dark park = dangerous? Danger = appealing.

Friday

Yesterday in park, realised I have no one. Called ‘best’ friend. No answer. Called OK work friend. No answer. Called person I don’t like but thought would be near phone. No answer. Hesitated before calling mum. “Hello. The person you are tryi———-.”

Didn’t want to go back to apartment. Because: mess and boy/pet things. Walked back to apartment. Thank god, no one home.

At apartment: put food out for cat and left kitchen window open. Moved dog’s bed into the kitchen and closed bedroom door. Left window open ajar [no point of entry for cat] so that I could breathe.

[Get rid of cat scratching post. Find new home for dog.]

Slept for eight hours. No interruptions.


Catastrophes first appeared in The Lifted Brow: Digital Volume 13, Issue 2: The Working Dog Edition.

Lily Mei is a Sydney-based writer. She is an editor of the 2015 UTS Writers’ Anthology and edits Flashers for Seizure. She’s written for Scum Mag, Stilts and New Matilda. She tweets sometimes @LilyMeizing.