The paraplegic who had recently lost the use of one of his arms was sprawled across the dirty lino, again. He would try for the peanut butter or a tea-towel, over-balance in optimism and slowly but certainly unravel on the floor beside the fucking wheelchair.
He would sometimes spend hours there. Plenty enough time to think that’s for sure Billy boy. Despite this he was happy. He could hold whole worlds in his head right down to the minor details like dints in a car’s side or the style of a particular figment’s glasses frames.
With his head almost flat on its side resting on the floor, the linoleum’s surface formed a horizon whose ends he knew reassuringly well. The walls, the door jams. The glass sliding door to outside. The view of outside was invaribly sunny, popcorn explosion clouds floating over blue. A light breeze showing in the trees.
“Who’s is that cat?” one of the orbiting carers asked. They wuld come by a few times a day. What cat? -he replied, he’d never seen a cat around.
“Some neighbour must have a cat.”
Then one day he woke from a short snooze on the floor, opened his eyes and saw the cat sitting outside, by the glass door. It was looking at him. It excited him; they’d never let him have a pet his whole life.
Eventhough it was a whole week until he caught sight of the cat again, he thought about it often. He tried to incorporate it into his daydream world’s, but it didn’t work. The cat was much too big.
It would perch there with its tail wrapped around its front paws just so, still as stone, staring at him with those brilliant blue eyes. Using his one good arm he would drag himself through the dust toward the door. Then, when within arm’s reach of the door the cat would flit away.
This did not perturb him. He thought it was all part of the game, that eventually the cat would get used to him, letting him a little closer each time. Sometimes it did, but he never got anywhere near touching it. He desperately wanted to run his hand across that fur. But a few inches are an infinity and he soon grew discontent, not only with the cat situation but with every other area of his life. There was no peace, even in the deep recesses of his mind.
Even when the cat wasn’t there, it was.
He would eventually fall asleep in his bed but often wake lying next to the door.
Two weeks later he lay, staring at the ceiling through the blurryness of tears — crying about the uselessness of everything. He turned his head side-on to cough without it hurting and saw the cat, somehow inside now.
He turned the other way and kept crying.