Will followed Kendra to the sitting room carrying Carmen and still wearing his coat, the arms of his jersey (Kendra knew his mum had made for him) poked out of the end of the arms of his jacket like a boy not able to dress himself properly. He turned on the TV as if it was still his TV, still his sitting room, still his cat, and plopped down on the sofa as if it was still his bloody sofa!
“No, actually,” Kendra said.
“No actually what?” Will asked.
She’d had enough. “No, actually, Carmen is not your cat. Carmen is my cat. I had her before you moved in here.”
Will pushed a wayward curl out of his eyes. Kendra could see a smear of something on his forehead. Was it tomato sauce? Likely. He barely ate anything without covering it with tomato sauce. One of the list of things she despised about him. And the fact that he ate like a wild animal. Which grown man gets tomato sauce on his forehead?
Will considered what she’d said. “Yeah…okay… maybe you’re right. But she seems like she’s mine, I love her like she’s mine.”
“Well she’s not. And neither is this flat. Or that sofa you’re slouching on or the table you have your feet on. I really would like you to remember that if you could.” Kendra bit into her pizza as if she was fighting it. “What exactly do you want Will? Why are you here?”
He took his feet off the table, set the cat on the sofa and sat up. “Yes… well there is something I’ve been trying to tell you but I’m not sure how you’ll take it.”
Kendra finished her wine and went to the kitchen for a refill. Why was he doing this? He was the one who was so desperate to leave and now he was forever around. Why couldn’t he just go? Why couldn’t he just leave her the bloody fuck alone?
She sat back down in the chair opposite him. “Okay get on with it then. What do you want to say? I doubt there’s anything you have to say that could surprise me Will?”
He had the cat in his lap again and was stroking her a bit too fast, a bit too manically. “Well… Kendra…I’m seeing …I’m seeing someone.”
“Seeing someone? What does that mean?”
“I mean I’m moving in with someone.”
In a bid to make Will feel jealous Kendra told him about the date with Asra. She was sure he was just making this whole “moving-in-with-someone” thing up as a way to get back at her. He really was a pathetic loser. She was sure he was living at his mum’s still. But she’d play his game. She smiled like the hostess on a game show. “That’s great, Will. I’m happy you’re moving on with your life. Is it anyone I know?”
Carmen was arching her back away from Will’s frantic petting which had now become a sort of punishment the cat must bear. “Yes… actually you do know her. It’s Maxy.”
Kendra laughed. “Don’t be daft, Will. Maxy? She’s just a kid.”
The cat, fed up at last, hissed and jumped from Will’s lap, giving him a dirty back look before hoofing it for the bedroom. “No, she’s not! She’s 22,” Will whined.
“Yes, Will, 22 and you’re 36. And besides she’s so odd, always wearing black and doing that strange poetry thing she does that makes everyone embarrassed.”
“It’s performance poetry, it’s all the rage, but you wouldn’t know anything about it you’re so stuck in your predictable, middle class, bourgeois life!”
Will was on his feet, suddenly angry, or what posed as angry for him. A languid sort of flailing about. Kendra nearly laughed. He looked like some sort of animal awoken after a long sleep, like a two toed sloth attempting to be animated. It wasn’t working.
“Okay let me get this right. I am a predictable middle class, bourgeois, old lady because I think stringing a pile of words together that make no sense at all and then standing in front of a group at the pub and reciting them with a pained look on your face is stupid? Is that it then?”
Will, now deflated, mumbled, “I didn’t say you were old.”
“Well you are. Far too old for that girl in any case. What did your mum say?”
Will’s mum was forever disappointed in Will. For many years, when Kendra was still on Will’s side, she had tried her best to counter Will’s mum’s constant haranguing but now she’d joined his mum’s side, encouraged her in fact, though it wasn’t something she was proud of. When Will broke up with her, his mum called her to say it was “the stupidest thing he’d ever done”. Kendra agreed.
“What does my mum have to do with this?” He started walking toward the door. “I was just trying to be nice. I wanted you to hear it from me before someone else told you. I don’t care what you think. I love Maxy and we’ve moved in together. We’re even talking about having a baby.”
Kendra sat back in her chair feeling suddenly achingly tired. Will had always dodged any discussions she’d try to make about them having a baby. He always had excuses, usually about him not earning enough money. How on earth did he and a girl barely out of school think they could have a baby? How could they have enough money for a baby but she and Will hadn’t? She would not let him see she was upset even though she was. No way. She put on her “I-don’t-give-a-monkey’s-ass-about-this” face.
She gathered herself together, stood up and shepherded him toward the door. “Well that’s lovely, Will. You know I need to get ready, I’m meeting a friend for drinks. But, yes, it was very nice of you stopping by and letting me know about you and Maxy. I’m sure you’ll be very happy together.”
She could hear her voice speeding up as they moved toward the passage. She sounded slightly Stepford-wife-ish but she tired not to notice. She needed him out. Out of her flat and out of her life.
Will stumbled along toward the door sneaking nervous glances at Kendra. He spotted the rolling pin still on the kitchen counter and relaxed a bit. She opened the door and suddenly he was in the hall. “So do you have any more keys to my flat you’d like to hand over?”
“No, I don’t have any more keys,” Will said nervously.
Kendra smiled. “Okay then, goodnight, Will, and enjoy your life.”
She slammed the door shut, locked it and slipped the bolt into place. She collected the bottle of wine in the kitchen and Carmen in the bedroom. Like she said, she had a date with a friend for drinks.