Monday, 22 October 2012

175: The Secret Garden

I followed him yesterday.  He had no idea, still doesn’t I don’t think.  I’m not sure he would care even if he did know.

It was harder than I’d expected, trailing him about like that.  I had to strike a balance between not letting him see me and not losing him.  Plus he’s had much more practise at scrambling over garden walls than I have and his body is built for it.  Mine is built for sitting at a desk all day and on a sofa at night.

I watched him climb over the back wall then slipped up the path to our gate, opened it and went out into the lane behind.  I just managed to grab it before it banged to after me and closed it with a quiet click.  I could see his dark shape ahead and I pressed myself against the gate in case he saw me.  I looked again.

He was already disappearing through the hedge at no 57 and heading towards that trollop no doubt.  She’d always had her eye on him, that one.  I’ve seen her looking at him as he walks past, admiring his good looks and giving him a little wave even if I’m there too.  She stands at the window watching out for him, I’ve seen her.  Pretending she’s adjusting the curtains or ‘heard a car’.

Before I could get to no 57, she’d opened the door to him and he’d rushed on in.  But I could already see them at the kitchen table, her stroking his head and him getting stuck into a dish of something tasty.  I couldn’t see what it was from the lane, but I’d guess at chicken or fish.  Always worth going with the clichés if you are trying to get to his heart via his stomach.

I must have kicked something over because there was a loud clatter and she looked up and towards the end of the garden.  It was almost dark so I don’t know if she saw me, but I’d swear she smiled.  He didn’t even lift his head from the bowl, not that he usually does until his dinner is all gone.  She raised her hand to stoke him again but he shifts slightly, away from her hand.  Then it was my turn to smile.

I watched for a while longer but didn’t see much else, certainly no evidence that he might prefer her to me.  She opened the door again and he sauntered out, a sated look on his face clear even in the darkness.  She turned off her light and I dare say went to bed or into the front room.  I didn’t care much as long as I knew he wasn’t sleeping there.

He turned towards the hedge where I was hiding and I got the feeling he knew I was there, before he hopped over the fence into no 55 and on down the street via more gardens.  I always worry he’ll leave me for someone else.  But then he did live at no 15 before I started cooking him poached salmon every day.

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