(fiction) A girl called Chloe

Chloe,

I wrestled with the decision to write. I wanted to move on because despite our promises, we are worlds apart, and we may have the best intensions, but who knows if we are ever to meet again. I wanted you to remember me by just that last meeting, that imperfect night, the rain, the small talk and the harrowing silences, because there was so much left unsaid. I wanted not to write. I wish I was stronger. Alas, I was not strong enough, and so I write.

I have missed you more and more each day.

I have adopted a pet cat. I remember you once told me the first time we met, that having a pet, caring for something other than yourself is important. Well Chloe, I now have my cat. I’ve named him Kachoo. But he’s really independent; he doesn’t even let me stroke him for long… I guess that’s what I get for choosing a cat. I can tell you now, Kachoo is nothing like Mr. Scales.

* * *

Meeting Mr. Scales

When I saw the girl next to me had a gecko in the box she was cradling, breaking the no-pets policy on the train, I didn’t turn her in. I was secretly happy, I don’t like reptiles, and I didn’t know if geckos were reptiles or amphibian. I liked amphibians even less. I was however really pleased because it gave me a chance to talk to her and after all, how often was I going to run into a beautiful brunette who wears Dior glasses, carries a Louis Vuitton bag and a gecko in a box? Her name was Chloe.

She was feeding her gecko crickets; its green skin was almost translucent. She looked at me and I may have had a funny expression in the way as I stared at the gecko. ‘His name, is Mr.Scales’ she said. I tried to look amused as if I understood what the reference to Mr. Scales was, so she didn’t explain further. I may have tried to pat its head which is when she slapped my hand and told me she was scared that Mr. Scales was a little stressed by the journey and she didn’t want him to be afraid. 

‘A gecko? distressed?’ I asked

‘You wont understand, unless you have a pet of your own. Caring for someone other than yourself changes you’ she said it matter of factly, i didnt argue the logic.

We talked for a while about the trip. She described her job; she worked in wealth management for high net worth individuals. She disliked the people she worked for, not just her organization, but also her clients and she kept saying she wanted to make sure that she got out of the business soon. She loved the money, but she didn’t like the job.

‘It’s just not right. No one person needs all that money, and they come to us trying to grow their personal fortunes’

‘Well, if you don’t like it, what else can you do with your talents?’

‘I don’t have any other talents; none that can help me earn a living. Well, apart from waitressing. How weird, we make waitressing sound like the worst job on earth, well, I’ve told you all about me, what do you do?’

‘I’m studying. Did a stint at a design firm before, but decided I wanted to do something new and well, ended up picking a course that I had no transferable skills for, in a country I knew no one in and right now, I’m pretty much lost and confused. Hence the trip’

She put the crickets away, let Mr. Scales sit on her left arm as he started to look around. The little guy was getting a little more active now. Maybe he wasn’t as stressed as she had felt.

‘I would love to be in that position, you know… when you are trying to make up your mind about what is pretty much your entire career, it’s like you are at the cusp of something extraordinary, something unachievable. It makes for a fun conversation, makes for what you will later call the most exciting time of your life’

 ‘Where are you staying in Augouleme?’

‘I’ve rented a place near the town square, we arrive there in a few minutes. You should ask for my number’

 ‘I should?’ I laughed, ‘Well I was going to get to that’

We exchanged numbers; arrived at the town and said goodbyes.

* * *

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