He is later than usual but as I am the last person to always know, what does he care. Sometimes I wonder why I am here. He rarely takes any notice of me.

I suppose I can't complain. I have it pretty comfortable here, much better than Ginger next door. I feel for her. She has really lengthy spells where she is all alone. I really don't mind her coming over and sharing with me. 

I hear his car now, let's see how long it takes for him to notice that I'm around or will I have to be the one to make first contact.

Entering his modern little townhouse, Jason switches on the lights with an elbow, his arms full of grocery bags. He deposits them in the kitchen and goes back to his car that is stacked with more groceries, files from his office, a box with some wine and a crate of beer.

'Never in my life did I think I would be part of such a surreal experience,' thought Jason. 'Within two weeks of talk of the virus here I am going into a three-week lock down.' he stands in his kitchen wrapping his head around this scenario that's playing itself out all over the world. 'I suppose three weeks is not too bad and I at least have my work I can do from here.'

He packed his groceries away, went upstairs to shower and came down in his tracksuit. His hair still wet. 'I don't even feel like eating tonight.' He stood in front of the open fridge looking at everything he had bought. 'I'll just have a beer tonight,' and flops down in front of the telly.

Just as I thought. Out of sight, out of mind. I'll have to make the first move tonight.

'Hi Smudge, where have you been. I suppose I better feed you,' and Jason gets up and opens a tin of cat food and dumps it in the bowl. He checks that Smudge has fresh water. 'How come you stayed behind when Maggie and I broke up. You know, I don't even like cats but it is what it is. I am stuck with you so don't stand and stare at me like that!'

Really, Jason, you stuck with me! No, no my friend, I think it's the other way round. I am stuck with you and your bad habits and quick temper. Maggie was right to leave you. She would have taken me with her if she could, but like you say it is what it is.

With his computer set up the night before, Jason is ready to work He still has a load of research to do before he launches the new line of products. A cup of steaming coffee in his hand he stares at the screen, it feels strange working from home. Smudge is lying right next to the screen looking at him. He opens up the documents he downloaded in his cloud and starts to read through them. When he gets to the bottom of the first page he realizes that he hasn't taken in a word. He looks at Smudge.

'Do me a favour. Catch your morning nap somewhere else and stop lying there looking at me.'

The lock down days slowly tick over and each morning Jason comes down the stairs a bit later, a bit hairier. He makes his coffee and then sits at the counter staring out the window. Smudge jumps up onto the counter.

'Oh heck Smudge will you leave me alone, it's still early."

No, it's not and just look at that beard growth! I wonder what Maggie would have said about that and by the way, she would not have approved of the mess you leave the place in. I am wondering why you are home all day and night. Are you fretting about Maggie? Have you been fired?

'I really must get some work done this morning. Never before have I felt so heavy inside. Is it the lock down, or have I lost my edge, or do I miss Maggie or is it you. Darn cat, always lying there watching my every move.'

Jason jumps up from the bar stool and looks around his apartment. 'Right we are,' he says to Smudge. 'I think I will hit reset today.'

After a shave and a shower he tidies up the entire upstairs then as he comes downstairs, he looks at the mess he has left over the past few days. He looks over at Smudge who is watching him. 'No wonder my brain is so foggy, who can work in this mess?'

I totally agree, about the brain and the mess.

Slowly he creates order out of his mess. With everything nearly back to normal he decides to make something healthy for lunch.

He sits himself down at the counter again but now there is no stubble or dirty dishes and beer cans lying around. He is feeling a tad better. Smudge leaps up onto the bar stool opposite Jason.

"You know Smudge, I'm quite pleased you are here. Make no mistake, I don't really like you but at least I have someone to chat to and if the neighbours hear me going on, they won't think I'm losing it.'

Don't worry Jason, the feeling is mutual.

'You know,' Jason says as he eats his salad, 'I really miss Maggie. After the break up I was so busy at work I did not realize what a big part of my life she was, but this slowing down during lock down makes one think. Do we work so hard to get position and status that we miss the more important part of life. Well anyway, it's over. Nothing I can do about it.'

Well, I also miss Maggie. A lot. But you sound a bit sorry for yourself this morning. You have no idea how much Maggie loved you. How sad it made her when you would rather work late than come home for the dinner she cooked for you. You even forgot your fifth anniversary. I remember that night well. She had a special meal ready. Put the wine in the ice bucket. Lay the table with flowers and candles and then she sat waiting for you. Eventually she went to bed. I think you're a jerk.

Smudge gave him one last dirty look and jumped off the stool to go and lie on Jason's desk, he spread himself all over Jason's keyboard.

'Smudge, get off!' Jason snatched him up and put him on the floor. 'Scat!'

Jason sat in front of his computer. Still nothing. He switched the telly on. Thirty minutes later he switched it off again. 'I'll make a strong coffee, that might get me going.' Coffee brewing, sugar in the cup, 'I think I'll have some cream in my coffee today.' Turning toward the fridge his eyes fell on all the souvenir magnets Maggie had collected on their travels. One by one he touched them and remembered the time they had bought them.

'This trip I remember well. We ate regularly in a tiny bistro in Paris. We were so broke then and we had to find a cheap place to eat. In Sienna we lost our way and drove twice in a huge circle around the city until we realized we were not allowed into certain parts with our car. In Amsterdam, you wanted to see the red-light district. How we laughed when a lady of the night waved at you. Maggie I miss you.'

One by one Jason touched the magnets, remembering these special times. Smudge watched him from the doorway.

'You again!'

You are crying over spilt milk Jason. If I were you I would do anything to get Maggie back. 

Smudge deliberately turned his back on Jason and jumped up on his desk again. This time he walked to and fro twice on the keyboard before he settled on some papers spread out on the desk.

'Come on Smudge, you are really getting on my nerves. Get out for a while!' Jason opened the window and put Smudge out.

Ginger was basking in the sun on Jason's patio. Were you also chucked out Smudge? What's is this with our owners being home all day. I miss the peace and quiet.

The lock down has been extended and Jason still has not accomplished much as far as his work is concerned. From the far side of the room he sees Smudge get up and jump onto his desk. Smudge walks over the keyboard from left to right, turns to look at Jason and then walks back over the keyboard from the other side.

Jason sits himself down in front of his computer. 'Hey bud, What shall I do?' Smudge again walks across the keyboard. 'Shall I write to her?' Smudge takes up a position next to the computer with his nose close to the keyboard and looks up at Jason.

"Dear Maggie. I do not know how to put this into words but over the past few weeks, I have come to realize what you actually mean to me. It feels as if I have lost something very dear to me and my heart aches. How do I apologise or make it up to you? I don't know. What I do know is that if you say the word, I will come and get you. You are the centre of my life. Maggie, I will never put you second in my life again. I know this does not sound like the Jason you left but it is the Jason that loves you. Please come back."

Jason hits send and looks at Smudge. 'There, I have wanted to do that for days now.'

Smudge cuddles into Jason's lap and together they watch the screen - waiting for Maggie to reply.

You could grow on me but I sure hope you have used all the right words to bring Maggie back. Really, when will humans learn. Shall I go tell Ginger about this. No, let me sit here with Jason a while. He needs me.




April 20, 2020 12:51

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Saranglogy R
09:24 May 02, 2020

A lovely story. I loved how you differentiated their dialogues with the font. Keep up the good work


Estelle Westley
13:20 Aug 08, 2020

Thank you. Sorry for late reply.


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Felicity Edwards
12:03 May 01, 2020

A lovely story, had me hooked right at the beginning. I love the italics for Smudge and normal for Jason it makes it easy to follow the action. I agree with the previous comments regarding Jason. Maggie needs to be really angry to leave, give her a good reason. Well done


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Estelle Westley
09:41 May 02, 2020

Thanks for reading. Keep safe.


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Estelle Westley
13:43 May 01, 2020

Thanks for the input. I am learning. Much appreciated.


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Estelle Westley
06:35 Apr 24, 2020

Thanks for reading and the input. I appreciate.


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Kindra Robinson
02:09 Apr 24, 2020

I really like the perspective of the cat. The only change I would make is Jason doing something worse than just working late. Mayber he goes out for drinks with co-workers afterward even though he knows she wants him home.


Estelle Westley
13:21 Aug 08, 2020

Thanks for the input. I have been going back to all comments to see what I must work on. Writer's work is never done. lol.


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