I breathe in the delicious bitter scent of coffee and take a sip from what looks like a tea cup. It’s a cappuccino and it has a white foam in the shape of a heart on top. I feel love emanating from the coffee, I take another sip and longingly glance at the french apple turnovers. They have been freshly baked and the tormenting smell of pastry tempts me to part with my even more dwindling funds. How nice would it be to have an apple turnover in this warm coffee shop as I look out at the rain pouring down the outside of the window? I succumb to temptation and place my order. As I wait expectantly for the apple turnover, I notice a man I haven’t seen before, several other heads are turned to note his presence. Cigarette to his lips, he is placing a poster on the window, he removes the cigarette and flashes a smile at everyone who had taken the time to examine him. It was the kind of smile that made you smile back and involuntarily, the right side of my mouth curled into a smile.
He steps into the coffee shop towards us and nodded back at the poster, “It’s to recruit more people for this company I have just joined”. At closer inspection, he has dark rings under his eyes and looks tired. He’s a bit rough around the edges, but there’s something magnetic about him. He carries on talking to the few of us still paying attention to him. “I’ve had the best year of my life, haven’t slept much but I can’t sleep in this time of my life, it’s just too much fun.” He is not making much sense and he can see it in our faces. He laughs it off and carries on speaking. “In my sleepless state a month or so ago, I was partying it up when I met an intriguing fellow, Mr Biggs. I love meeting new people, so I was eager to get to know him better. It turned out he is an entrepreneur of sorts and he is starting a company. He didn’t give that many details but he did tell me he saw something in me and that I would make a great addition to his team. After a few more drinks, I wasn’t able to turn down his offer and so here I am trying to get more people to join his company. He is a very interesting man and if you are good at influencing people, our poster is on the wall with all the details”.
My apple turnover is on the table and I can’t decide which needs my attention most; I’m curious to see the poster, my primary goal today was to get a new job. The poster doesn’t give away too many details but does say that he is looking for a group of people with diverse skill sets who have the power to influence others. The poster itself is printed on strange paper, very smooth, it must come from another town; I had to apply to get into this company. It detailed that to get the job, you had to write a letter to Mr Biggs telling him about your life and giving a detailed account of how to persuade a person to do something you liked. I wondered what kind of man Mr Biggs was to let people join his company on this basis. What would he think about my past? Thoughts of home flashed through my mind as I began thinking about what I should write.
I walked home in a trance like state as I put together ideas of how I would write this letter. Would I tell the truth? Was I supposed to tell the truth? Maybe he just wanted to see how creative I could be? Sigh, I was an honest person. This letter would be written from my heart and I knew it wouldn’t be the most pleasant of experiences putting down the initial years of my life in a place outside my head. I slightly hated Mr Biggs for the future suffering I was going to endure. Maybe he was a sadist who just got off on reading other peoples sad stories. Even worse, what if he was some a writer who was too lazy to write his own stuff and ended up publishing my letter somewhere!
A cat appeared out of nowhere and started walking alongside of me, three of it’s paws were white which made it look slightly off balance. Cats always seemed to be drawn to me, I must have been a cat in another life. I must have been a bad cat in another life, because I really wasn’t that fond of cats. They made me sneeze and there was also that incident with Josi.
Josi said she needed me to babysit her cat for a few days, which turned into weeks, then months. At first Lulubelle was the sweetest cat or maybe kitten. A small little bundle of black and white fur with slanty, pretty eyes. She was one of the one of the most affectionate cats you could meet. Of course she needed this affection back in a multiplied form. At first I adored having Lulubelle around, it’s easy to love something when you know you only have to love for a short time. As time passed and I realized that this cat slept on my chest every night, scratched my eyes and also made me sneeze. Her litter would stink up my little flat and her little escapades of falling off my balcony were frightening. She was not even my cat, I was looking after Josi’s cat whom I thought was a nightmare of a person, but most of all, I was allergic to cats!
It was all too much to bare and I had to take Lulubelle to a shelter because it had finally dawned on me that Josi had abandoned her cat and I wasn’t ready or capable to look after her. I bundled her in a box and took her to a shelter where I had previously volunteered. I knew they did care for their animals, but it was still heart-breaking to take fluffy Lulubelle out of her box, look into her vulnerable eyes and hand her over to a stranger and hope that there was someone better than myself who would come to the shelter and give her the home she deserved. I spent many days returning to the shelter to see if anyone had taken her. She disappeared after a few days and I told myself she had a better home. I have to think that because otherwise I’m a very cruel person.
The cat was still walking next to me and I picked up the pace so that it would know that I had no intention of making friends with it. The three white legged cat got the idea and left me alone and I got back to my flat in no time. A letter was waiting for me at the door, love letters from my landlord, my rent was late. I quickly put the letter under my mat, I didn’t want to think about such things. I collapsed onto by bed and kept brain storming what I would write in the letter.