:: Article

Duos #12 : The Cat Lover

By Tessa Berring and Kathrine Sowerby.


The cat lover called Gaynor wants to perform a Cha Cha Cha for the artist. The artist drops gloves down the stairs and counts up to forty-seven. The cat lover called Gaynor needs new dancing shoes because she dances so much. Those stairs were steep and knees ache when it rains and when we sit cross-legged for too long in a circle. See See Ah Chah. Or was it Sea Sea. There’s always sea, though you can’t see it from here. But ripped up pieces of wallpaper that the artist found in a museum spell it out. The artist doesn’t notice how wet it is outside and leaves without a coat. The cat lover called Gaynor runs after the artist with an umbrella. The artist is too fast for Gaynor and disappears from sight. ‘Artist! Artist! Come back! I have your umbrella!’ shouts Gaynor. Because sitting in a circle never kept anyone dry, and neither does a roof with holes or a pile of paper with snowflakes printed in orange. That was smooth. And the cat loves the skylight when the glass falls out. I can stand here and block out the sky, it says. Then how will you dance? The artist finds a coffee house and sits on a brown chair at a yellow table. ‘Coffee please!’ Says the artist to the person serving. It is wet out there isn’t it?’. ‘Oh, isn’t it’, says the person serving. And beige, not grey like most people think, but new buildings are appearing all the time and shoes look brighter in dull weather so shut up and drink your coffee. The artist sips coffee wondering why Gaynor wants to dance a Cha Cha Cha. She is not good at Cha Cha Cha. Her facial expression is always one of pain and embarrassment. Her hips move out of time with her feet. Gaynor has gone back indoors and picks up all the artist’s gloves. They are all left hand gloves, which is strange as the artist does have a right hand. Don’t we all. And extras up in the loft. Where did that picture go? The sea and the ah and the chah that sounded like breathing and tea and also dancing but not when you sit so still all the time. Move, why don’t you, until something feels correct or just enough. I wonder where the artist is now, thinks Gaynor. The artist finishes the coffee then has a second and a third. I will go home and watch Gaynor’s Cha Cha Cha, decides the artist. What else is there to do after all? The chimney on the coffee house is smoking. Pigeons are pecking at a puddle on the road. When the artist walks past ever so softly, they fly into the plane tree. Because the artist doesn’t exist and they know that and neither does the loft. And maybe not the picture. And sitting in a circle is tight and something to step over.

Tessa Berring and Kathrine Sowerby are artist/writers living in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Their poems have been published in DATABLEED and ZARF and they have performed together at Vespers, Hidden Door Festival and Bone Digger: The Golden Hour Presents. Books of their work include Tables & Other Animals and BAZOOKA published by their own Usual Shoe Press.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Thursday, June 28th, 2018.