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The Book

The book slowly and inevitably was coming to the end. She savoured every word, unwilling to part with it, suddenly frightened of finding herself back in her own world. The story wove itself into her daily routine, slowly, imperceptibly enveloping her in a different reality. Surreal, compelling, it drew her away from the constant battle she waged with herself. And all the time, while she read, you were there. At first she was not aware of your presence, from sentence to sentence. But as the words led her closer and closer to the conclusion, she understood her reluctance to relinquish the story. It was you, after all, who told her of the writer, of the character in the book who talked with cats. You knew she would like it. You knew her so well. And if you didn’t – do we ever know the other? – you loved her for who she was, and understood what she felt. You were always there, even in all the years you lived apart. You fed her stories in your frequent letters, inspired and guided her. Did she appreciate it? She must have, for her love for you was as great, and accompanied her every step. Not that she thought in these terms, all those decades in another place, far away from you and home. She reached for the book too late. You were gone by then. Regrets seeped into her daily life, casting an endless shadow on even the sweetest of memories, the sunniest of days. The tears slowly subsided, but the pain remained. The loss was too great to fathom, the wound would not heal, but it did not bleed as much. And then she reached for the book, and you were there. Was this the last book you read before sight left you, abandoned you to constant darkness, shrank your world drawing it into an abyss from which you cried out your unbearable anguish? Were the last words on the page the last words that illuminated your brilliant mind? They could have been, for now, as she read them, ever so slowly, you appeared, reading them over her shoulder one more time. And then the story wrapped itself into an invisible ball and rolled away into her subconscious, to rest there with all the other books she read, together with you. She closed the book and cried, the wound now opened anew. She felt your embrace and words of comfort. Don’t cry, you seemed to say across time. Don’t cry.



Time spent in the company of cats is never wasted.

Sigmund Freud


Mr Nakata talks to cats. He has long conversations with them, although not all cats are easily understood; it seems Siamese are the most outspoken, with a large vocabulary, but that is because most are pampered and spend time in front of a TV, thus soaking in all sorts of information. I talk with cats too. It’s a two-way conversation, although there are times when my cat speaks to me without any invitation, she clearly has something to say. It is never without meaning, and I always listen. Mr Nakata had an accident as a child, which wiped out his memory but gave him the gift of understanding and talking to cats. Not a bad exchange. I did not have to go through one though, and have talked to cats since very early on…



Night encroaches

Dreamless state of terror

Voided sleep

Black on black

Fear appearing in the dark

Night encroaches

Soul departs

What remains

Has no right

To be



Art: Odilon Redon