I’ll miss having the dog around. This black, beady-eyed, curly-tailed thing. Moomin. She is a true companion and as I walk with her across Wormwood Scrubs, a large expanse of playing field, with one of the only unbroken horizon lines I’ve ever seen in London, I remember how much she’s aged since the first time I walked here with her. How much I’ve aged too. The same amount technically, but not in dog years. She’s a grandma now (an obaachan) and that would make me a fully-grown woman. I am technically, but not in mental years. But then perhaps I’ll always stay this age in my brain, just my bones and body will begin to wear thin, and my memory will lapse but I’ll still think the same. Feel the same in any case, probably about the same issues, sticking even more stubbornly to my guns as I age with everybody else. Moomin’s back legs wobble, when she jumps over tufts of grass her belly scrapes the underside in a way it didn’t use to, when her skin was more tort and she had a stronger abdomen. She tires more easily and sleeps for longer. I bet I'll age without realising it and then one day I won’t be able to get my leg over a stile without incurring some pain, and then I’ll notice that I’ve grown old, a bit too late to do anything about it.
Now as she lies here, sprawled as I write I am thinking deeply about mortality. What will happen when she’s gone? I’ll probably still be here and then I will be left sad. I’ll probably get my own dog and name it after a Moomins character in honour of this dog and also to pay homage to Tove Jansson, an absolute genius in my eyes. It’s easier to say for a dog that they have had a good life. Easier to judge, if they live until they are thirteen (human years) and they can still bound with abandon, ears flopping excitedly down by their snout, can still sleep and eat healthily and dream. That’s a good life. But for humans… more difficult to judge and who are you to judge anyways? If I’m healthy and can still run, eat, sleep and dream am I having a good life? Yes, most likely. When I die will everyone be able to say, with hand on heart, that she had a good life because of these things?
On the way home from something I noticed on the path infront of her house a black figure lying there. A small furry black thing with limbs outstretched as if it were sleeping, the way Moomin does on her blue cushion upstairs. My heart stopped. I edged closer as if walking over a frozen lake about to crack and splinter in to shards, any minute, when I saw it was a black cat. Dead cat. Black-fluffy-big-dead-expensive-looking creature, just lying there, not moving a whisker. I couldn’t be sure if it was dead but I really couldn’t touch it either. I was afraid I’d wake it up and then it’d be angry. I said out loud to a passing stranger, ‘Dead Cat.’ They turned around, confused possibly, so I said it again louder and more clearly pointing at the laid out cat on the pavement. Thank god the stranger came back to check, he bent down and checked the cat’s pulse (is that normal for things that aren’t human?) and I asked, ‘Is it cold?’ The man said ‘Yes. Dead.’
There was a pause that may have been a long a silence. ‘I’ll go and get a bin bag.’ He said and sauntered off. I tread carefully around the cat and wondered what had happened, no markings or wounds, no seeming violence or blood, it looked like it had been placed there. Probably chucked out of a car window or off the curb-side after a hit and run. I worried about the human owner of it. How sad they would be to see their cat in that state, distraught. Something still bothers me about that cat. I went upstairs and patted Moomin down, brushed her a bit and read a book, turned the lights off and went to sleep. I dreamt about a black furry creature that night, whether it was a dog or a cat was unclear, it was just a nice animal that I liked a lot.
Now I’ve been thinking about that dead cat again, and seeing it lying there was so unusual because I have always believed strongly that cats land on their feet. Even out of four-storey buildings when they leap, they still land on their feet. That cat looked like a suicide and that’s what been nagging me, a little.