I am the love you can’t ignore.

Sefi decides it’s time for me to be upright. It’s ultra early but the closing of the front door as ML heads to the gym, is the signal for her to rush upstairs to tell me it’s my turn to take over. Her mews push through my earplugs, breaking my sleep-spell from a dream in which a man strapped a giant black octopus to my leg purely for the pleasure of bashing it to death in front of me.

I know why I had this dream. Yesterday I had seen a woman slapping her dog. It’s the third such incident I’ve seen recently. It distresses me every time. Leaves me with images I don’t want, and feelings I can’t shake. But Sefi isn’t interested in my nightmares. She butts my foot as is protrudes from the duvet. Give me action, she says. I want action. There is no resisting.

I follow her into the garden, clutching a cup of black coffee and my green William Morris notebook. My diary-writing has been erratic as I’ve been managing my fatigue, and prioritising my audio-script collaboration with my sister. I fight my compulsion to do ‘catch-up writing’ – to record everything I think and do as if needed for evidence – and instead scribble into the moment:

Sefi up on the kitchen roof, surveying her territory. Tiny birds twitt-twitt-twittering from the safety of two doors down. A wood pigeon hooting from somewhere on high. The rattle of a crow. The low hum of traffic. An old chimney pot overflowing with jasmine that a friend gave us years ago. Shrubs around the raised bed of our patio garden flourishing in spite of neglect. A cloudy sky that wants to clear. Fresh morning chill encased in mild air and …..Oh Fuck! Kerfuffle. Hisses. The sound of two small tumbling bodies: It’s Sefi facing off a white cat on the garage roof of the street that backs onto ours. They pull apart, and then the other, though much bigger, backs away. Sefi gives chase just enough to cement who’s boss before galloping back along the fence, and jumping the log down into our garden, exhilarated and ready for second breakfast.

I close up my notebook and head indoors to feed Sefi. Then I obligingly pursue as she leads us upstairs and up into the attic. Come on, she says. We like it up here! It’s true. We do. We settle into happy parallel activities: Sefi nestling into the furry cream mat on the chair beside me; me setting finger to key to write this, marvelling at the golden thread weaving joy into my hurt.

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