(Fe)line after line is all I remember

Dexter was an old cat, already eligible for his senior catcard when my housemate took him in. This was reflected in his nickname: Old Man Trousers.

I’ll remember OMT most in the front garden of the flat, either on or near the stepladder he used to gain entry to the living room.

It would always be a late summer’s day, and Chloe, his owner, would be sat out on the grass, rolling a cigarette, with Dexter and Thorin – Chloe’s other cat, with the appropriate nickname “Smells” – always close by.

This last year Dexter has largely been kept inside, an unwitting cellmate of Thorin’s after the latter’s misadventures and consequent house arrest.

And the past few days, kidneys failing and hunger a thing of the past, his world became smaller still. Keeping mainly to dark, safe spaces, like my sock drawer or hidden among Chloe’s tightly packed clothed and shoes, Dexter was waiting for the end.

A couple of days ago, with the first truly mild breeze of the year, I opened up that lounge window to air the house and see if Dexter needed the sun.

It was an early spring day, and the old habits took over. He mustered the energy, and the familiarity of habit, and make his way up and through the window, down the step ladder, and to next door’s bench.

And here I found him an hour later, to take him back inside for the last time.

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