The Night Hitch Died

Posted on Monday, December 19, 2011, under

I am not making this up. Friday night I dream I am in this large farmhouse kitchen, a bicolour cat in my arms. She is old and ailing. I think she is dying. I place her inside a wicker basket then completely cover it with a white hand-crochet lace. I place the basket on the kitchen cupboard. I am satisfied the moggy will die peacefully in here. I turn round to find Christopher Hitchens sitting at the dining table, legs crossed, a glass of what might be bourbon in his hand, lost in thought. I don’t think he says much, if anything.
A few days pass. Or perhaps weeks. In dreams they can do. I am back in the same kitchen after being away god knows where. Maybe just round the corner tending on sheep and pigs. I notice the basket is still sitting on the cupboard, covered with the same crochet lace. I walk over and remove the cover. The cat is still in there, barely alive. Fur dilapidated. One eye closed. She is breathing. I am instantly overcome by guilt. In dreams one can be. I pick the feline up and try to force-feed her milk but she coughs it all out. Then I notice Hitch, sitting at the table in the same disinterested way as before. This time Hitch talks, says something, but I now forget what. Maybe he jokes about the cat, how it always has been a fussy eater. Maybe he says how death is overrated. At this point the dream starts slipping away. I struggle to stay inside. In vain: as the sunrays tickle my eyelids Hitch seems to have had enough. I think I can just catch him getting off his chair and slowly walking out of the room, into the morning brightness.

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