- Vol. 04
- Chapter 01
Image by Hernan Bas
The nature of gloves and cats and you and meMy mother’s sister had a cat that had no name. Some called her Smeagol others called her Gollum but that was just for a little while. Eventually everyone called her cat. Just cat, the cat. Unlike many, she had the privilege of being called exactly what she was.
And she was a rather feral cat, didn’t take well to other people or animals. On rare occasions, she’d approach you tentatively, knead you with her claws and sit on you. You’d feel honoured that this wild creature deemed you worthy enough to be her chosen chair, and unquestioningly accept the terms and conditions: do not move, adjust petting to erratic ear twitches, accept the well-earned purrs with gratitude. You’d convince yourself that a bond had been established and slowly get comfortable. Slowly, trust. Then, as if remembering her true nature in a dream, she’d whip her head around, bare her teeth, hiss and in one swift movement dig her nails into your skin and disappear like lightning.
Sometimes we wouldn’t see her for days. Sometimes, the only proof of her existence we had were the concentrated traces of feathers in the yard or a toppled tail-less lizard, tiny grey guts spilling out of its translucent belly. But cat the cat was not just a cold blooded killer. She had a hobby, almost a fetish. She was an expert glove collector – a connoisseur of sorts. The neighbours called her a kleptomaniac, and sure, the clandestine nature of this activity of hers must have given her a kick, but I like to think she put thought into the masterplan of the whole endeavour, rather than just the rush itself. Her collection consisted primarily of garden gloves, but included novelty items such as leather biker gloves, striped fingerless gloves, children’s mittens (with and without flaps) and rubber kitchen gloves. A glove would usually show up on the back porch on its lonesome, but she never failed to reunite it with its matching pair.
The nature of gloves and cats and you and meThey say she had a difficult start in life, as way of explanation for her behaviour – for her fearfulness, her arrogance, her aggression, her lack of ability to maintain a relationship and establish that deep bond you always hoped for and only ever got glimpses of, perhaps even for her glove compulsion. She was separated from her mother and abandoned in a dark warehouse with only her equally bewildered brothers and sisters for company. That’ll do something to a cat.
You’ve left again and I don’t know when you will be back, if you will be back. I see you standing by the staircase where I saw you last – now just a quivering hologram of a story gone wrong. Your face that night haunts me; I could see in your eyes you were already somewhere else. When you left though, you forgot your glove. Just one grey glove on the marble table.
And it’s that glove that keeps me up at night, haunting me with hope.