About Cat and the Dreamer
About Cat and the Dreamer
As a teenager, Julia survived a suicide pact, while her best friend, Rachel, died. Julia’s only escape from her guilt, and her mother’s overprotection, is her imagination. When Adam arrives in the office, Julia’s world takes a startling turn as she realises reality can be much more fun than fantasy. Finally she has someone who can help her make the most of her life. But can she allow herself to be truly happy?
About Me Today is Rachel’s birthday. Born 29 November 1981: a bundle of joy, no doubt, for her doting parents, who wrapped her up in a fluffy, pink blanket and brought her home in time for Christmas. Fifteen years later, on that very day — on this very date – she was buried; right here, right where I am standing now. Buried under years of untended grass and weeds, neglected since her parents divorced and moved; wrenched apart, torn away. The gravestone, once gleaming white marble in the shape of an angel, is weathered with green moss and dirty rain; some of the lettering is starting to wear away. I hate that angel. I hate the way she smiles benevolently, the way she stands proud above the other graves, observing the rest of the cemetery with her smug, gloating face: Yes, I’m dead as well, but I am still better than you. I throw the bouquet of pink roses at the base of the statue without much regard for presentation and kneel for my annual prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for saving me. But, the more I say it, the more I think I should be admonishing Him for His failure to let me die as well. I stand; I sigh. I stare for a while because I cannot muster the enthusiasm to leave. I’m only going home; there’s nothing much for me there, except my mother waiting to dish up dinner and my father muttering to himself about some news item that’s offended him today. I’ve tuned out his latest rant. Single mothers, gay marriages, the unemployed loafing around as though they have the right to sponge off his taxes: he has opinions on everything, and no one listens anymore. When I walk through the front door, my parents are lying dead in the hallway. There are blood stains along the carpet, trailing out from the living room. I stare at the scene for a moment, trying to take in all the information. All I can truly think is, I’m an orphan. In the living room, the furniture has been turned over, the cushions slashed open; the drawers have been pulled out of the dresser, the contents strewn across the floor. Nothing obvious is missing; the thieves — for there must have
been more than one to attack both parents at once — were looking for something specific. It seems as though my father’s secret life as a spy has been compromised. When I walk through the front door, my mother is humming along to Radio 2 in the kitchen as she pulls plates down from the cupboard and rummages through the drawers for cutlery; my father is sitting at the table reading the paper and ignoring the fact that he could be helping. “Julia? Is that you?” One day it would be so nice to walk into the house and to be alone. I consider not answering; I consider turning around silently and running back down the path. “Yes,” I answer obediently. “You’re late.” I peer into the kitchen. “I didn’t go to work today, remember?” “That bloody grave again,” Dad mumbles from behind the Telegraph. “Can’t be good for you. Can it, Mags?” He leans back in his chair and raises his voice, as though Mum is in another room. “It can’t be good for the girl, going off to that bloody cemetery all the time. It’s best forgotten, that’s what I say.” “It’s not all the time. You know it’s not all the time. I don’t know about Mum, but I’m getting bored with hearing what you think.” “Don’t talk to your father like that.” “Like what?” I drop my handbag to the floor and kick it into the corner. I slump into my chair and wait for a plate to appear in front of me. I am suddenly a fifteen-year-old girl again being chastised for some perceived transgression. I visibly shrink three inches to inhabit that gangly awkward body. My head swarms with all the years I have not yet lived.
About the Author Annalisa Crawford lives and writes in Cornwall, with a good supply of beaches and moorland to keep her inspired. After winning several competitions with her short stories, sheâ€™s made a move into longer length work. She finds endless possibilities in the relationships between people. Annalisa blogs at Wake up, eat, write, sleep â€” annalisacrawford.blogspot.com