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The Chat


A short story about a woman's useful conversation with her cat

The Chat

‘Time scares me,’ said the woman to her cat. ‘I’m losing the people I love, and I’m only twenty-eight.’

The cat raised his head from his deep sleep on the bed and slowly blinked at the woman with his sea-green eyes. 

The woman blinked back at him. ‘Life frightens me,’ she said. ‘What would you do if you were in my situation? I know you’re a cat, but you seem to have it sorted.’

The cat glanced at the bedroom window; the breeze had dislodged several leaves from the tree tops and they gently danced in the sky.

The woman followed the cat’s gaze to the window. ‘You’d go out, wouldn’t you?’ Her voice sounded panicked. ‘Out there into that world?’ 

The cat turned his head and licked his coat with his spiky pink tongue.

‘Yes,’ she surmised, ‘You’d go out and face the day - face life again, and take it all into your stride and you wouldn't look back.’ The cat stretched his paws right out in front of him and one grazed the woman’s knee.

‘It's not that easy - I wish I was as calm as you,’ she said. ‘Instead I’m a stupid scaredy-cat. I am terrified of my own shadow, I'm terrified of living – I'm terrified of what could happen, and of losing it all again.’

The cat rolled onto his back and showed off his strip-striped belly; he placed his paws in the air and exposing his multi-coloured toes. They looked like pink and black coffee beans. The woman stroked his furry belly and said to the cat, ‘You’re telling me to relax and to stop over-thinking things.’ She sighed to herself.

The cat rolled onto his side and stared right at her.

‘I know you’re right,’ said the woman. ‘You’re always right. I need to enjoy the present moment and stop worrying about the future.’

The cat shut his eyes and went back to sleep. He hadn't said anything at all.