Charlie was pleased with himself. On his way back from a day of chasing mice and scaring bees, he’d managed to book a table for two at George’s favourite restaurant for their five year anniversary. A task that’s quite tough when you’re a cat.
Five years? He couldn’t believe it. Not many people imagined Charlie and George would stay together for very long, but they managed it. And despite the mood swings and irrational anger on an hourly basis, Charlie really couldn’t think of a wolf he’d rather spend his life with.
In the past George had refused to go to restaurants with Charlie. “Why bother flaunting ourselves in front of strangers and pay over the odds for under-cooked food when we could just order a pizza and watch a film?” George would often ask.
But no, not tonight. Charlie was sure George would be too intoxicated by love and goodwill to care about that kind of silly nonsense. Tonight was their five year anniversary, what better way to spend it than in the company of your loved one at your favourite restaurant.
Looking forward to an evening of seafood and reminiscing about their relationship, Charlie picked a rose from a neighbours garden, popped it in his mouth and skipped the rest of the way home.
“Konckity knock knock,” Charlie giggled while opening the front door. “I’m home!”
George, curled up in the corner of the sofa watching La Belle Noiseuse, just about acknowledged Charlie with a faint nod.
Charlie danced up slowly to George humming the tune of Can You Feel the Love Tonight? He slowly circled around the sofa, stopping every time he was behind it to gently run the back of a claw down George’s long greying spine to the base of his tail.
“Stop it,” George wriggled. “I’m trying to watch this.”
“Oh come on, Georgey, play with me.”
George stared at the TV.
“Fine, I’ll just have to join you.” Charlie popped the rose on the fireplace, climbed over the back of the sofa and found a perfect spot behind George’s front legs to nestle up to. “I’ve got a surprise for you, Georgey.”
“How would you fancy a meal tonight at… CHIEN MOELLEUX?!”
“I’d rather not.”
“What?! But you love it there!”
“I’d rather not-”
“You’ve forgotten haven’t you?!”
“You know what George? To hell with you! I try so chuffing hard to keep you happy and I get nothing in return. I’ve been working all day at a job I hate to save up the cash to be able to spoil you with a gorgeous meal at your favourite restaurant. I don’t even like the place to be honest, but I want to go because YOU like it. But no, you’d rather not. YOU’D rather not. Grumpy George would rather stay at home. Let me guess. ‘Shall we order a pizza?’ No. Tonight is our fifth anniversary and I want to go and celebrate. I’ll tell you what though, there’s not much to celebrate, is there? Look at us? We barely talk, we barely do anything. My mum was right. ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’, that’s what she always says about you. ‘Once a boring wolf, always a boring wolf’. You know my parents never thought we’d last, right? ‘Cat and wolves don’t mix’. That’s what mum said. But I fought and fought and fought to tell her how wonderful I thought you were. Maybe she was right. The fact you were different was what always attracted me to you. You never wanted to do what normal people do. You were unique, unlike all of the cats I’d ever been with. But sometimes, George. Normality is good. Sometimes I’d like to watch an awful Disney film, be spoilt with flowers, drink cheap wine, eat rubbish sweets and get all gushy. Why do you have to be so awkward ALL OF THE TIME?!”
Charlie ran into the kitchen in floods of tears. The lights were off but the room still shone. He wiped his eyes. “Oh George” he whispered.
Candles, big and small, white and pink, filled the kitchen work tops. A rose petal path spiralled from the kitchen door, past the oven, past the sink, and circled around the dark, oak dining table. A bowl of salmon, tuna and prawn pasta, in a cheese sauce sat between a glass of Australian white wine and a box of Jelly Babies, Charlie’s favourites. The Lion King soundtrack played in the background.
Charlie turned as he felt a familiar, warm paw on his shoulder.
George smiled a comforting smile. “I love you, Charlie.”
© Carl Burkitt 2012