My mother always said ‘Come the apocalypse, we’ll eat the cat.’
None of us took it too seriously. And then the apocalypse came.
It was more civilised than you think. It was announced on the BBC. The second the announcement was finished, she went looking for the cat. I think we all felt it was a bit too soon. I remember my Dad sitting at the dining table, pushing the meat around his plate with a fork. It felt a bit unseemly, as if there should have been a bit of a notice period. Time to say goodbye.
It was in the pot and on our plates before most looters even got out of bed. Here’s a tip, early evening apocalypses are best. People don’t believe it, go to bed, don’t wake up. We did wake up, minus the cat.
That first day my Mum visited the neighbours to see if they were ok. They were elderly. She came back laden with cans. We thought that generous at the time. There was meat for dinner again.
‘You know this street is full of elderly neighbours,’ she commented a week later. Followed by ‘enough meat to keep us through the winter.’
I commented that not all old people had cats. She looked at me blankly. I pushed the meat around my plate. I had not seen the neighbours since it happened. I don’t remember our cat being that big.
Since the collapse of civilisation as we know it, there are far fewer people around. We however seemed to have thrived with an inexhaustive supply of fresh meat.
Being honest living through the apocalypse has been lonely. There’s been the kind of atmosphere you’d expect at the apocalypse. A little doom laden, a lot of darkness. Not much water. We’ve coped. Mostly we stayed indoors, with the lights off. We’ve been out raiding other peoples houses, but we rarely see anyone.
We got through the winter with fresh meat. A lot of cats I told myself. We planted vegetables in the autumn. My mother had seeds. She was nothing if not prepared. It’s like she’d been waiting for years.
I can’t remember when Dad disappeared. Now when I look out in the garden though I wonder. There is a particularly fertile patch of soil. I’m sure she didn’t. He just wandered off like she said. Still we had fresh meat.
I think the apocalypse made my Mum happy, proved to her that all that tough parenting she’d put me through was worth it. She was never happier than after it happened. She was hardy and strong my mother. Focussed and determined.
She taught me everything I know.
She cooked well.
She tasted good.