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The importance of cats

December 11, 2018

Thirty years ago, a few months after my mum died, far too young, I woke up one morning wondering if I had enough aspirin and other medicine in the bathroom cabinet to kill myself. I was the only child of a single parent. There was no love in my life. What was the point in being alive?

I lay in bed, mentally considering the contents of the medicine cabinet. Then my crazy cat Clancy jumped on the bed. My other cat, Jenny (previously my mother’s), was already curled up on the bed, although I hadn’t noticed her there.

I looked at Clancy (whom I refer to as crazy for a reason) and thought, oh my god, who would ever take on this cat if I was dead?

And then it hit me: I really was alone. If I succeeded in topping myself, how long would it be before the smell got so bad that some neighbour would do something about it? Long enough, I was sure, that Clancy and Jenny would have been reduced to eating me. Yes, I had friends, friends who might ring me, but they wouldn’t think it was odd if I was out for the first two or three calls. Plenty of time for me to reduce my poor cats to eating me. That thought was more depressing than the thought of killing myself. I didn’t get up to look in the medicine cabinet. I went back to sleep.

One night twelve years ago I went to the pub to meet a couple of mates. It was a while since I’d gone out, as I’d been between jobs for a while. It was a Thursday night and the following Monday I was starting a new job, so I had something to celebrate.

Three or four rounds in, I went to the bar to buy my second round. When I reached into my bag for my wallet it wasn’t there. I had a moment of disbelief before I accepted reality: once again some fucking tea leaf had pilfered my wallet out of my bag. Yes, once again. It had happened I don’t know how many times before. As a result, I was careful with my bag. None of that slinging it over the back of your chair. I had positioned my bag very carefully that night. It was impossible to believe that some floor crawler had managed to nick my wallet and yet somehow they had. I was fucking cursed.

That year, 2006, had not been a good year for me. I already felt cursed, but this was a curse too far. One of my mates paid for the round. I used my mobile to ring the bank and cancel my credit cards. As I walked home from the tube, all I could thing was: I can’t take it anymore. I said a cursory good evening to my housemate and went to my room, once again wondering what was in the medicine cabinet. Now that I was in the privacy of my room I started to weep. Instead of checking the medicine cabinet, I rang a dear friend, someone I knew would understand. He talked me down, away from the edge. I went to bed. In the morning he rang me back. When he asked how I was, I said I was sober now and fine. He told me I wasn’t, that I needed to get some help. I realised he was right and I did get help.

Last night I arrived there again, that point where continuing with the faff of simply being alive simply seemed like too much effort. Something I’d avoided killing me earlier in the year suddenly reared its head again. This time there would be no Get Out Of Jail card. Who the hell would really miss me if I just gave up? Oh, there would be people who would think “that’s really sad” when they heard the news, but no one would be absolutely heart broken, no one’s life would have a gaping hole in it.

I knew there was no point in searching the medicine cabinet and I knew that taking multiple anti-depressant pills wouldn’t kill me. (I’d checked on that a while ago with the doc.) I thought about going outside and just laying down on the ground in the hope that hypothermia would finish me off. Then my cat Stella jumped up onto the couch. Oh, right. Stella. Who would take care of her? Plus, I haven’t made a will yet. Fuck. I was going to have to stay alive.

I couldn’t face going to bed, worried about what dreams might come. So I dragged a box set off the shelf and spent the rest of the night with the Gene Genie. Somehow he always does the trick.

And now it’s ten to nine in the morning. The doctor’s office will be open soon and I will ring to make an appointment before the one I already had scheduled in January. I’m still alive and Stella is letting me know she wants to be fed.

On y va.

 

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From → Black dog diary

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