15 years

15 years ago I had very different ideas of how my life would go. I had no idea life could be like this. 
My brother convinced me, last minute to go to a school reunion with him. I really didn’t want to go but there were one or two people I hoped I’d see again. So we went to a pub in Havant and met with people we hadn’t seen in a long time.

It was strange. Seeing these people, many of whom were from my brother’s year or above, and remembering who they were, and who I thought they were. Then comparing that to who they’d become. There were a few people from my year though and I naturally gravitated towards them.

I was standing at the bar surveying the room when I saw a man sat at the head of a long table, holding court. He wore yellow tinted glasses and his eyes sparkled when he laughed. Everyone there was listening to and laughing with him and I felt drawn to him in a way I’d never experienced before. I knew some of the people he was talking to so I sat down and said hello. I remember taking with people, catching up, smiling, laughing. But all I really wanted to do was talk to him.

I found out his name and remembered hearing it time and again, uttered in exasperation by teachers and my dad, alike. “Truby!” My dad, the school handyman and chef, spent half his life fixing the things Truby had broken. I vaguely remembered a blond kid with funny, sticky-up hair. A full-time border with whom I had many friends in common, but wasn’t friends with.

I finally got to sit next to him and we talked. We talked about his music, my sculpture and we laughed about school. He was so easy to talk to and be with and as the evening drew on I knew I had to see him again. I kept touching his knee as we talked. It wasn’t conscious, I was only barely aware of it. But I didn’t stop myself and I didn’t question it.

Then he said we should probably mingle and I admit to feeling a little rejected. I went to the bar to get a drink and give myself something to do. It turned out that was the point he felt a little rejected by me. But we found our way back together and stayed that way the rest of the evening.

The reunion ended and we all swapped email addresses. I wrote people’s names and email addresses and Truby gave me his. It was his songwriting name. I knew I wouldn’t forget it, or him. But he kept telling me to put his name next to it so I’d remember it was him. I told him, “Don’t worry. I’ll remember.” He didn’t get the hint.

Truby and his friends offered to drive my brother and me back to our parent’s house on Hayling. We piled in and drove down memory lane. We stopped outside the wall,  all that was left of our old school. We went to the beach and dropped over the new tourist train tracks. We laughed and messed around. And eventually they took us home. I kissed Truby goodbye. I told him I’d be in touch. He later told me he had asked his friends if I seemed interested in him, or was I just very friendly. They both said I was just really friendly, and Truby was disappointed.

But I emailed him that night. And we emailed every day for a week. Intense emails talking about things and with a candor we never would have managed face to face or on the phone.

1 week after the reunion, on the 14th July 2002, we met for a drink. We were both shy. All our confidence gone. But eventually we calmed and we talked. We drove around and spotted a badger. Truby brought his guitar and sang for me. He sang his ‘greatest hits’. I loved his music. Couldn’t believe it was him. Then he sang the song he wrote about the night at met, Train Tracks and Traffic Cones. I loved it. I loved him. I knew he was someone special. I knew I wanted to know him better.

We made so many plans but life had other ideas. And yet, through every trial thrown at us we grew stronger and closer. I could not imagine life without my Truby. He is my everything. I love him, am in love with him. I’m proud of him. And I never want to be without his protective arms around me. 
 As a girl I dreamed of a white wedding and children. But I got something far better. I got a friend for life. I got unending support and belief. I got integrity, honour and faithfulness. I found my inspiration, my centre and a true partnership in every way.
Thank you, my love. Thank you for the last 15 years. Thank you for the promise of all there is to come. You are my world.
 

Saturday 16th January 2016

Grumpy Kike

I am Kike (pronounced Keekay, get it right, readers). I am a 4 year old Tonkinese cat and this is my journal of the trials and tribulations I face as a house cat who is smarter than her humans and brother combined.

Saturday 16th January 2016

Christmas has come and gone. We spent a week together, snoozing, watching TV, playing and eating before life returned to its usual pace. I have to admit you rather enjoying that week and regretting its end. But the world continues to turn.

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My brother enjoyed the myriad of new toys and I enjoyed the treats and food. But now we have some exciting changes. Our male slave has been making no end of noise I’m his quest to build things. Usually this is a damned inconvenience, but I have been pleased with some of the results.

As I may have mentioned, I am a sucker for a game of chase. Unfortunately, the game is often forced to an abrupt halt when I run out of space to run. This, I think may be about to change. Our shelves that run along one wall have been extended, and he doesn’t seem finished. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. I must admit to being somewhat giddy about it all. Of course Ajali forgot all about it within moments, but he’ll be just as excited as me when it’s finished and he realises what it is.

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One more thing. 1 week. Remember I told you a Busu was coming? Something to help me against my brother’s sharp teeth and strong jaws. Well, I heard the slaves talking about, “The Day of The Busu.” It’s in 1 week. Just one more week. I am intrigued to see what will tame or cage the savage beast.

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Now I know I have only a few days to wait. Wish me well, my friends.

What happened to Father Christmas?

When I was a child Christmas was a magical time. My parents would buy two eight foot trees for the first two floors of our Southsea townhouse. We would decorate them together, using the ornaments made by my brother and I on the family tree on the first floor and the posh ornaments for the ground floor room where parties were often enjoyed. The trees were colourful and sparkling with little silver bells, baubles and tinsel. The nativity scene was set and awaited the baby Jesus.

My brother and I never saw a present until Christmas day. All presents were safely stashed away where prying little fingers could not reach. My parents would try to send us to bed on Christmas eve telling us to make sure we were asleep before Father Christmas arrived or he wouldn’t leave us any presents. But we would be so very excited. We’d ask to stay up late, and they warned us against it but would allow it. And then, like magic, we would hear the bells on Father Christmas’ sleigh. We’d race to the window to try to catch a glimpse before Mum hurried us to bed.

My heart racing, I’d hide under the blankets squeezing my eyes shut and thinking I would never fall asleep. But of course I did. And when I woke, a huge stocking stuffed with satsumas, nuts and toys was hanging from the end of my bed. Once I had finished with my stocking I would race downstairs to the tree that was magically transformed, surrounded by presents of all sizes, all shapes. What a miraculous sight that was. Father Christmas had visited and left us a heap of presents. We always knew which presents were from the benevolent man in red because only our names would be written on the tag. Father Christmas never signed his name.

Many, many years later and today’s British children are excited about Santa. Today’s parents, who probably grew up with Father Christmas, are telling their children Santa is coming. I know the name is largely irrelevant, but it feels like a symptom of something lost from British society. Father Christmas was a part of British identity. I remember learning about his many different names across the world. But with today’s lack of borders through the internet, language has homogenised to some extent and Father Christmas seems to have been lost.

I miss those days of innocence. And as an adult, I miss the nuance and individuality of British English as it becomes more and more Americanised. Of course the lack of borders is also a positive change and that gives me loved ones all over the world. It’s not an advance I would change. And of course, they may have taken our Father Christmas, but we haven’t given up our s for z just yet.

Sunday 18th October 2015

Grumpy Kike

I am Kike (pronounced Keekay, get it right, readers). I am a 4 year old Tonkinese cat and this is my journal of the trials and tribulations I face as a house cat who is smarter than her humans and brother combined.

Sunday 18th October 2015

I suspect something is happening. I am not sure what, but something is definitely coming. I shall wait.

Prompt: The Interview (456 words)

“Now, how did you come to be here today?” Godfrey sat forward, elbows on knees with a broad, inviting smile. Dinah, his interviewee seemed nervous. Her voice quivered and her face shone with ruby coloured apprehension.

“I saw your advert in the paper. I thought you had a vacancy for a PA.”

“Oh I do. I have an opening, but it needs to be the right person. You do understand?” He waited for a nod of agreement before he spoke again. “I will require a level of dedication you may not have committed to before. I am a busy man and only the finest, most ardent allegiance will do. You understand?”

Dinah nodded but didn’t speak. Her body shook a little and Godfrey wondered if she were made of the right stuff to join his company. He waited in silence, hoping Dinah would feel compelled to fill it with speech. She twisted her hands and feet to an accompaniment of light squeaks from the chair and its bindings.

“I’m not sure I’m what you’re looking for,” she said. Her voice was quiet but firm. Godfrey gave a lop-sided grin and lifted a questioning eyebrow. She continued in a louder and more confident tone, “Forgive me for wasting your time. I must not waste any more of it.”

She attempted to stand, but her hands jolted her back into the seat. They were not only bound to each other but also to the back of the chair. She strained her wrists and ankles against the leather straps that held her in place. Her eyes, far from being wild with fear as they had been for most of the interview, were hard and determined. They narrowed and fixed upon Godfrey’s face.

With delight, Godfrey jumped up and clapped his hands together, binding the fingers. “Marvellous,” he said. He offered a hand to shake before remembering she was bound and unable to return the gesture. “Silly me,” he said, retracting his hand. “Dinah, I knew you had the spunk for this role. You’re a fighter.” Godfrey grinned and bounced on the balls of his feet, the nervous energy of the interview beginning to break free.

“Please,” Dinah said. “Please, let me go.” Tears began to spill from her eyes.

“My dear, I couldn’t imagine life without you.”

He took a gag from the back of her seat and placed it over her mouth. She tried to scream, but the gag performed well, as it had done many times before.

Another quality acquisition, thought Godfrey as he switched off the light and left the squirming woman in her cell. He would sleep well, revelling in the relationship to come and the eventual addition to his beautiful collection of personal assistants.

Friday 9th October 2015

This morning my human slaves took Ajali away and came back without him. I admit I was somewhat fond of the little guy, despite him irritating me to distraction. And he really wasn’t that little. He’s bigger than me. He’s always biting me or chasing me. It simply isn’t decent, dignified behaviour.

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Behaviour. He doesn’t really understand the concept of good behaviour. He’s always stealing things. Stupid things like spoons or scissors. If you’re going to steal, although I have some issue with the term steal– how can I possibly steal something that is mine by right? Anyway, if you’re going to steal, make it cheese, or ham. Make it chicken or fish. Something worth stealing. I have no idea what he wanted a spoon for.

The slaves are constantly catching things he throws from the shelves, chasing him to pull things from his mouth and racing to rescue some prized possession he’s about to destroy. I’m not surprised the slaves finally realised he’s more trouble than he’s worth.

So now he’s gone and it’s back to just me and my humans. Oh I know I was lonely after losing Kai, but I’m sure I’ll be better able to cope with that this time. What is more important is this house finally revolves around me alone. As it should be. So far, they’ve given me treaties to apologise for leaving me alone this morning. They fed me breakfast as they left and I chuckled to myself because they didn’t give Ajali any!

Today is a good day. The first day of the rest of my life.

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—————————————–

P.S.

He’s back. He smells funny, like the place we go to see the woman who stabs us. I hissed at him when he arrived. I let him know I wasn’t impressed at his return.

But, in all honesty, I think maybe I am pleased to have him back. Just don’t tell him that. He’s too full of himself as it is.

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Sunday 28th June 2015

Grumpy Kike

I am Kike (pronounced Keekay, get it right, readers). I am a 4 year old Tonkinese cat and this is my journal of the trials and tribulations I face as a house cat who is smarter than her humans and brother combined.

Sunday 28th June 2015

My new baby brother is quite sweet really. I admit to liking him, but I wish he’d keep his teeth to himself. I think we might be able to play together. In time. Not yet. I need to know I can trust him. I think I can, but I want to be sure.

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Ajali sleeps in the spare room with my male human. So overnight it’s just me and my female human–as it should be. But in the day Ajali is around. He plays, eats and sleeps. He has no decorum to speak of, but I am pleased to report he understands the nature of the cat -human slave relationship. He should fit in just fine.

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And…I have to admit it…it’s nice to no longer be alone. He’s not Kai. He’s not my brother, despite the humans calling him so. But he is another cat and I feel less afraid, less alone, less desperate with him here. I cannot help but like the little rascal. Maybe one day, he will feel like family. I miss you, Kai xx.

Sunday 14th June 2015

Grumpy Kike

I am Kike (pronounced Keekay, get it right, readers). I am a 4 year old Tonkinese cat and this is my journal of the trials and tribulations I face as a house cat who is smarter than her humans and brother combined.

Sunday 14th June 2015

They left me again. Again! I was about ready to leave a steaming pile on their bed when I heard the car. I ran to the stairs to find out where they had been and to remind them they had abandoned me. The female human came in alone. She rushed to me, as she jolly well should and scooped me into her arms.

All right, I admit…I couldn’t resist purring. I was so happy not to be alone. Without my brother beside me I had been feeling, well, vulnerable. Of course, Kai would have been useless if trouble had found us, but at least I would have had some back up. Anyway, back to the story. She carried me to the living room and took down the treatie pot–my reason for living. The guilt was strong in this one!

I could hear the male human coming in, but treaties trump punishment so I let him wait to grovel. However, he didn’t appear and soon a familiar, yet strange smell reached my sensitive nose. The door to the spare room shut and from behind it I heard a cat. Well, as you can imagine I was shocked. Could it be? Could Kai finally be home? Was he alive all along and simply held captive elsewhere?

I raced to the door and tried to make my way in, but I was locked out. The miaows grew louder, a call to arms. I was there, ready and waiting, but barred from entry. I called back, to let him know I was with him and he called back to me.

It was strange though. He didn’t smell right. But who else could it be? Finally, after what felt like days of desperate calling, the door was opened ajar. I tried to push into the room but my female human held me back whilst my male human stopped me pushing the door from the other side. But it didn’t matter, for a beautiful feline face peered at me through the crack.

It wasn’t Kai. I could see and smell that now. It was another cat, a kitten. He was small and crying for company. I tried to push into the room, but I wasn’t the cat he was expecting. Perhaps he expected his mother, or his siblings? Either way, it wasn’t me. He panicked and hissed.

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How dare that little upstart hiss at me in my own home? I hissed back and the door was closed. Later, I sat on the sofa alone. My humans had been fussing over food and toys for the interloper so I sat alone in complaint. The spare room opened and the tiny kitten entered the living room. I wanted to be annoyed, but he was small and worried and calling for his mother. So I sat still and watched him.

He was brave for one so young. He explored the room, calling for his family less and less. When he saw me, he hissed and backed away. I ignored the slights, knowing he was acting out of fear.

“This is your new baby brother, Kike,” my female human said. “His name is Ajali.”

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Sunday 10th May 2015

Grumpy Kike

I am Kike (pronounced Keekay, get it right, readers). I am a 4 year old Tonkinese cat and this is my journal of the trials and tribulations I face as a house cat who is smarter than her humans and brother combined.

Sunday 10th May 2015

We had the best day today. The female human wasn’t feeling well and the male human was very tired after being awake all night. So we all spent the day in bed. With the humans not awake to cause me any difficulties, I was able to work all day, undisturbed.

It’s now close to midnight and we’re back in bed. I knew where my humans were all day and nobody left. Today was a good day. I am now curled up in my big, comfortable bed, but it feels huge. I don’t sleep in it often, because it reminds me I’m alone. It’s far too big for one cat.

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I know this will sound stupid, but I miss fighting my brother for the best spot in this bed. I miss lap wars– where we argued over who slept on the best spot on the female human’s lap. And I miss arguing over who sleeps in the crook of the male human’s arm. I don’t miss arguing over the soft, squishy house. That’s mine!

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