Into the Audi and through the dark streets from London to Brighton, leaving in a flurry of snow and last minute phone calls. Cars on the road in similar quantities to a normal world, but this is because the trains are empty. Gradually bearing south, and I go through Croydon on the way. Pickle is in Croydon. Remember Pickle? There once was a cat.
I haven’t seen Pickle for over a year and thinking of her gives me little twinkles of anxiety. I hadn’t really understood that she’d be leaving when I went off to America to shout for money. But leave she did, taking Brian with her and perniciously leaving Kitcat in her place. Not the kittycat I liked to snuggle with. Kitcat was a bit bigger and less fluffy.
Pickle lives in Croydon now and ’tis for the best, I tell myself. I’ve upped and gone to Brighton for two nights which wouldn’t be possible were she in the flat. She’d starve and be sad. Also she’d eat all the fishies and tussle with Hex. Doesn’t stop me from missing her when I think about her, which is why I try not to do so. For a long time there was a cold spot next to me in bed – I literally slept with a placebo teddy for a bit after I got back from America. Then I let myself forget. Easier that way.
She’s back in my thoughts because Brian rang me up. It’s past time she was neutered and they’ve had it done, but she had funny things wrong in her tiny little body and for a while the vets were worried. They seem to be satisfied she’s okay now, which is a relief. I really wouldn’t want her to be back in my thoughts only to have her critically ill. But it’s another absolutely bastard part of this lockdown situation, that I’m in an extended enforced separation from my one time daemon. I’m sure I’d have seen her by now if the world hadn’t exploded shortly after I got back from the USA. But it hasn’t been possible. And now I miss her again.
Still, I get to see Lou. She’s a bit bigger than Pickle too, and also less fluffy. But she’s very good at making tasty food where Pickle just ate stinky things, she’s running a bath for me and Pickle could barely turn the tap, and she’s just as good at snuggles while being 100% less likely to shit on the duvet.
I’m sitting outside her flat now, finishing this with the heater running in the car. The dashboard thermometer tells me it’s minus 2 out there, God help us. It’s gonna drop to minus 5 in the small hours. I’ll be glad of not sleeping alone tonight. And of a hot bath and soup. Glory.