I wake up with a rancid smell permeating the air. A mixture of sweat, beer and vomit. A big stain, on the side of the bedsheet, unrecognizable, stares. 

Does the stench emanate from your shirt that I have on? It sat so loose on your frame those last few days, we both could get in it together. I might have had it on for a few weeks. 

I get up and strip the bed, depositing the empty chips packets on the dust laden floor. As svelte movement at the bathroom door startles me. The matted hair hanging over my eyes clouds my vision but I push the hair back. It’s a cat, lying on the cold bathroom floor, licking its body leisurely.

Where has the cat come from? Has it been living with me these past months? I have no idea what to do now.

It pauses and looks at me, eyes unblinking. Then a voice pipes up, “The whispers say you’re insane. You do resemble a witch. I might like my stay here.”

I bristle at the words. Consequently, my repartee is neither well thought of nor completely truthful.

“I’m not insane. I look fine. Move your filthy presence out of my bathroom and my life.”

It sneers at me and gives its body another thorough lick. It’s clear it isn’t going to dignify my outburst with a reply. I feel flustered. Is a cat winning this argument? 

I realize the feline speaks the truth. I am going insane. A talking cat? I need to get my life back in my hands. 

The cat has read my mind. “You can’t stop living as long as you’re alive.”

“I want to,” I whisper. ” I loved him more than myself, more than my life. I wish I could bury myself with him, just to be together.”

“You loved him too much. When we love someone more than our life, we forget to appreciate our own self. You’ve forgotten what it is to care for you. To live for yourself. Didn’t he love you because you loved yourself? What would he feel if he saw you like this? Dirty face streaked with tears, shirt caked with your own drool, and hair matted with grime? With no smiles to brighten your countenance and no spring in your steps? Broken and lost?”

I stumble to the mirror. I do look like a madwoman, insane with grief. I shudder at my reflection. This isn’t me. 

“I don’t know what to do. Help me,” I whisper to the cat. 

It just sits there and licks its paws. I head to the shower. The grime washes away from my hair leaving me lighter. When I reemerge, I’m scrubbed pink as a newborn. I pick up the pink nail polish that I’d bought before and consider it. The stroke wobbles on my big toe. I need practice.

I might have wandered from my path but I’m not lost. The cat winks at me in approval and disappears.
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