The Memories in a Torn Sheet

It never ceases to amuse me how the oddest things can bring a raft of stories to mind.

Yesterday morning when I was changing my bed I found a neat triangular tear in the bottom sheet I was about to put in the bed.  There have been small pinprick holes in that sheet for years.

I originally bought them at a French hypermarket somewhere off the autoroute between Beaune and Paris when I went for a week’s holiday when I was living in Moscow.  Until I took them back with me, the only sheets I had in my flat those which came with it, so there was a real sense of luxury in having something new of my own, even if they were from a supermarket.

It was the kitten I was persuaded to adopt when the cat my friend had found in the street and took home gave birth to a litter of six.  I called her Nastya and when I was in the flat she sat beside me, or on me, or squeezed herself underneath the sofa cushions and then reached up through the gaps and scratched my back.  When I was sleeping she curled up on the end of the bed….. but one of her favourite activities was in scratching at the mattress through the bed linen.

The little tiny tears she made in the fabric have taken 14 years of additional wear and tear to render the sheet unserviceable.

It’s a long time since I thought about the cat.  I often wonder what happened to her.  She’d always been a flat cat, and escaped without me noticing just a few days before I was due to leave the city and I couldn’t find her anywhere.  I’d got her flight to Glasgow booked, she’d been to the vet for all her inoculations, I’d spoken to the Scottish Office and applied for her permit to enter the country, and my mother had been to visit the place where she would have to spend he six months quarantine.  I surprised myself when I started crying when I had to phone up all the places to tell them she wouldn’t be coming.

So I felt a little sad to remember her, and searched out the photo.  And then, there’s that awful material covering the sofa, and a whole other batch of memories flooded back…….

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