Scruffy is Dead (20 Minute Writing Club)

cat on wall
Cat on the Wall – Dragan Todorović

‘Scruffy is dead.’

‘Sorry what?’

Bernie pops her head a little further over the wall.

‘Scruffy is dead!’

‘Who’s scruffy?’

‘The cat I’ve been feeding. Well at least I think he’s dead. He hasn’t been around in a while and me after buying all this dog food.’

‘Why were you buying dog food?’

‘Cheaper. It wasn’t even my cat. Why should I be spending a fortune on it.’

Today marks the 18 month anniversary of moving into my house. I like to celebrate the insignificant. To be honest I thought I’d spend it a little differently than awkwardly sitting in my back garden and mourning a stray cat I can hardly remember with an elderly neighbour I hardly ever speak to. We do share, however, a common interest in the singer Patsy Cline. When I hear her singing along to her records late at night through the wall, I am uncontrollably overwhelmed with a sense of melancholy I’ve only experienced in American coming of age dramas. I can imagine being the poor teenage girl who’s sweetheart hasn’t asked her to the prom. It’s not a part I was born to play but naturally fall into. As Bernie sings the second verse of ‘I Fall to Pieces’ through the thin and somewhat mouldy wall, my ‘character’ cries as she clumsily takes off her makeup, breaking a lamp and knocking over a glass of red wine in the process. Although probably too young to be drinking in this film, in these times of heartbreak, societal drinking etiquette may be overlooked.  

At twenty six, I’d like to think I’d have a clearer understanding of love and heartbreak but my experiences are more so imbued with a sense of embarrassment over relationships that I mistook to be actual relationships. I had been seeing someone last year, I think. It’s extremely difficult to tell whether you’re going out with someone or not in Ireland because we don’t exactly have a dating culture here. Dating in Ireland is a text at 3am; ‘You out?’ Towards the end of whatever it was, I began to realise that this lad probably wasn’t the best for me. Apart from being a bit of a dickhead, he had ridiculously bad breath. Unfortunately, at the time I wasn’t assertive enough to bring any attention to it, probably because I was happy to part of something. All I could do was constantly suggest group activities like ‘Hey, why don’t we all brush our teeth?’. I bumped into him very recently at the 99c Store near St. Patrick’s Cathedral so at least it’s good to know that we’re both doing well for ourselves. We used to see each other on Tuesdays and Fridays (our respective dole days).

It’s funny to remember.