There’s no easy way to say this, but I can’t stay with you any longer. I know the past five years seemed like a time of blissful contentment, but all my smiles were faked, all my gratitude imagined on your part. I know I am the one to blame, although I had hoped you would notice something was wrong before today.
Now, I need to intervene while I still can. You’re probably thinking, ‘We’ve known each other for five years, Fred, but we’ve only been together for three. How could you forget something like that in the letter you wrote to break up with me?’ Don’t just scrunch this up in anger and demand explanations from Fred; he will be suitably confused.
It is I, Felix, who is writing today. I took the liberty of leaving before your morning alarm to avoid awkward questions and longing glances. I left everything of mine here in case you would like to find a substitute, which I know will be a cheap venture and much more likely to be to your tastes. Others will be able to look past your moodiness, to accept you for who you are and give you all of their love in exchange for food and the occasional chance to sleep on your lap. However, I believe that there is a different life waiting for me out there, and it would be foolish not to take the chance.
I wanted to leave you a token of my appreciation, but I know that everything I find comforting and valuable you think is either a worthless trinket or plain unhygienic, so I have refrained, and am leaving you this letter instead. I hope that, in time, you come to find someone else who can fill the hole I’m leaving in your heart. And please tell Fred that he would do well to follow in my footsteps and reconsider his situation before too long has passed.
Farewell, Emma. Our time together has taught me much, and I will take those memories with me as I venture into a new phase of my life.
‘Is this a joke, Fred?’ Emma rounded on him so fast that her long, brown hair needed a second to catch up.
‘What’re you talking about?’ Fred asked as he groped the bedside table for his phone’s snooze button. He succeeded after a few tries.
‘The letter. This letter,’ she repeated, shaking said letter in front of his face. ‘What sick way of breaking up is this? You think you can just pretend to be Felix—’
She stopped; laughing at the absurdity of it all.
‘Felix. You’re pretending to be my cat so you can tell me that all your smiles are faked, and that you just can’t go on like this. And to tell Fred that he should do the same?!’
Emma stopped shouting for long enough to see that Fred was looking, if possible, even more bewildered than before.
‘Maybe it was your friend, Esther?’ he asked tentatively, as if waiting for another explosion.
‘Don’t be stupid,’ Emma snapped back. ‘It must have been one of your friends. Did you piss anyone off last night at the pub?’
‘No, I don’t think so. Let me see,’ Fred sat up and motioned for the letter, which Emma had to flatten before handing it to him.
He couldn’t help but laugh, and by the end of the letter, reading Felix’s dramatic farewell out loud, even Emma was struggling to repress a smile.
‘Alright, I admit, I should have known it wasn’t you. My brain isn’t switched on at seven in the morning.’
‘Ten past seven,’ Fred corrected her, smiling at the subsequent rush of activity. He tossed the letter in the bin and helped Emma get ready; handing her a pair of stockings, looking for her missing pen, toasting some bread. He still had another hour before he had to leave, after all.
Soon she kissed him goodbye at the door, as they wished each other a good day.
‘You haven’t seen Felix yet, have you?’ Fred asked all of a sudden. Emma shook her head, looking slightly worried as well. Her cat was outside more often than not, but they both had friends who could have gone to great lengths for a prank.
‘I’ll look for him,’ Fred reassured her, and sent her on her way. After a cursory search of the house, he filled Felix’s food bowl and had a cup of tea, knowing the cat could hear the rustle of the food bag from miles away.
Not this time, it would seem. Fred decided to search the neighbourhood, but thirty minutes later he had to slink back home, defeated and longing for another cup of tea. Felix would be fine, and he shouldn’t be late for work.
If I find out Jacob set all of this up… He started telling himself, but wasn’t sure where to take his thought. Kidnapping Felix is too much for just a prank.
There was a knock on the door as Fred was about to leave. He finished adjusting his long, brown coat and opened the door to find Emma and his next-door neighbour, Claire.
‘Oh, Fred, I’m so sorry,’ she said, looking like she was going to burst into tears. She handed him Felix’s collar, and said something about a car, although Fred wasn’t listening.
Word count: 900