A more meticulous and disciplined keeper of records might have noted that the first can of beer was taken at 17:37, after hanging up a telephone conversation with my mother at 17:33. My father could be heard in the background, his voice an oval of reverberation. You have to squint with the eyes when the speaker is not next to the microphone but a room away, as if sight were as interlinked with hearing as smell is to taste. They had just flown in from Miami, FL and were jetlagged telling me about their holiday and I had nothing really to report, other than I had been tired much of the week and worked from home on Wednesday, just a bit tired, bit anxious again but – my mother spoke over me, all excited & so forth, that I stopped what I was saying and just kept everything for myself like a terribly boring secret.
    At my desk, I looked slowly at the music I might want to play. The cat leapt up across my lap and then off, enticing me to chase her; she darted quicker than anything. ‘You’ve just shat, haven’t you?’ The odour was quite something. I scooped it away and she was on the new tree I had assembled for her in my bedroom that reached from the floor to the ceiling. She meowed at me and I showed her the way to get down. I told her I loved her and that I was very happy she liked her new toy. I bowed to kiss her and she nuzzled me, then put her paw to my head and stroked my hair.
    There was wine after the beer, a merlot from Tesco, nine-quid a treat. All drinking had done recently was bring me down. Like writer’s block, keep going to turn the tide. God, I got so sad when I thought about her on Thursday that I wept and ground my teeth. To think about it now—! Halt! Cease! Desist! The cat is on my lap, looking up at me with her green eyes. ‘You are so beautiful.’ Purrs a vibration from one organism into another, chiming with bones and tissue. Blinking—‘I… love… you…’ Her whiskers have regrown from where she singed them on the hob beneath a salted translucence of fusilli.
    Why write? Why risk the blues? Why seek at the foot of something that, after all labour and exhaustion, might ruin one’s fragile spirit? We are bold with our aspirations! Reckless! We are reckless. She is comfortable in my lap, on my chest, the sternum a level heat. Do not move. She gazes back. What I sought before is presented to me in a different language. I coo. She sleeps lightly and purrs. ‘Saving your energy up for when I want to sleep, aren’t you, you little cunt.’
    It is easier with her, life, more difficult to be sad. She greets me when I arrive home; draws blood and I show her the lines like a tube map. I apologise and set out again. There is a topless man leaning out the window of a Range Rover, inhaling from a lime green balloon and hurling abuse at pedestrians; everyone is slow and looks on. I walk quickly.

    At 14:11 I left the apartment and she meowed for me to stay. ‘I’ll be quick,’ I told her. There were nine bottles for the glass recycling bin. The meticulous and disciplined keeper of records noted that a young man was cycling his bicycle around as two of his friends sat on the courtyard grass; grandparents carried a cake indoors; three men came out the gymnasium; a youngster emerged from his expensive motor. Past the prison and His Majesty’s Young Offenders Institution, I slip to the pet shop along a road that is not walked by pedestrians, for it is so long and polluted by the passing cars. My mother wonders why I go along there; no one else knows about it.
    ‘That’s a nice photo of you, no?’
  ‘“So many photos of me, darling, so many photos.”’
  ‘You look beautiful here. Absolutely perfect. Look!’
    ‘“Like Kim Novak’s entrance in Vertigo.”’
    It is just her and me in here. We are best friends. We are tacked on the edge of the universe, a lonely room, somewhat like a cell. The last remnants of heat from the radiator are pulled into her frame. How much Russian does she know? Bellow on the train home sends me to sleep. The apartment smells of shit. I congratulate her stomach and scoop it up. I do not like to wake up. She is relieved I am awake, relieved I am alive. We snooze.
    After I arrive home, I lie on the sofa and finally she joins me in my crotch after slanting the daylight most turbulent on her heavenly texture; the heat and so on, endothermic. My phone buzzes. It is my mother and she is jetlagged.
    Now all of the percussion is ended! I do not feel sad. It is a miracle that I have exercised the tendons in my fingers and am no worse off for it. This is where the joy is buried. All that remains is xc’;f?8888jjjjjj jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj jjjjjjjjjjjj jjjjjjjjjjjilooov jnh8pp0

*From the cat.