This came from a conversation I was having with a friend. I joked that I wanted to finish my Phd early and start working, or the alternative was to marry a rich man. He replied that, sadly, he did not have that option. I told him he did. He could have a cougar. He said then his girlfriend would kill him, and I responded that, that would not be the end of things as he had more lives to spend. He then suggested I wrote this into a short story, and here it is.
I remember running around from one lecture to the other at university. And I remember before then, rushing from class to class to tennis lessons to swimming lessons when I was in secondary school. If I stretch my imagination further, my mother used to ferry me around whilst in primary school, from one friend’s birthday party to a summer school to the Christmas carol service, to church and to the grandparents’ houses. And now as an adult, it appears I keep running around.
The whole of human life is devoted to going from one place to the other.
We are not encouraged to just be and to sit still somewhere, and hibernate like bears. Except of course when one is in rehabilitation for mental health issues, drugs, sex or alcohol addiction. Then we are told to be still. Even in these institutions of calm, we are scheduled from class to class.
So we keep running, the treadmill of life. Albeit in a smaller cage, like a hamster.
And now, even after five years of marriage, I find myself running from place to place. Yes the gym, work, home and socials. But also once a week, and twice when Nike is away, I am at the mercy of my cougar. It wasn’t love at first sight. These things hardly ever are. I met Jennifer at the hotel lobby, after a stressful business meeting in HongKong. Very cliche, I know: the people from London, going to do business in HongKong and beginning a tryst there. The bar was deserted and it was the two of us, and it was only natural that the two people at the bar speak to one another. She was beautiful. Striking and she knew it. Draped in pearls and her hair was long. Unusual for a lady in her 50s. I guess because she appeared to be older (15years older, I would later find out), I was not expecting anything to happen. But now I think back, she gave classic cougar vibes. She was beautiful. She had beautiful skin. Her eyes were calm but piercing. Very matter-of-fact about everything and she was graceful. She exuded femininity and power in equal measure.
Naively, I thought she might be a good business contact, you know how these things go. If I am honest to myself, I did feel a bit attracted to her. But she was closer in age to my mother than to me. So I left it at harmless attraction. But she was irresistible.
Well, a brief exchange of business cards led to the introductory “good to have met you, shall we do drinks?” email, which led to dinners, that led to something more. Over the course of two years, we have had a sort of slow dance, no commitment, weekly dalliances. It has also been good for business, and therefore for Nike and the kids.
It is amazing how much power the cougar can wield.
A graceful, powerful cat that is able to adapt to any surrounding, Jennifer has displayed prowess. All I had to do was surrender my body to her, once a week. Not a bad trade-off I would say. Even if it does include more running around, from place to place. Shanghai, Tokyo, London, Paris, New York. Wherever our businesses take us. We go and it keeps us fit, all the running around.
I cover my tracks well. I am good. I am strong. I’ve honed the skills to perfection. Over these years. I learnt quickly. It appears, I learnt too quickly. Jennifer’s yoga instructor invited me to a yoga class. I see where this is going. Personal yoga sessions sometimes have ‘connotations’. I don’t want Jennifer to destroy me.
The cougar is a powerful and fast predator.
She can kill me. If Nike ever finds out, she’ll kill me. And my mother, would also destroy me. But maybe I should give the yoga instructor just one more try. Running around is now ingrained in my psyche. Cougars are not known to mate with other non-cat species. So I guess that makes me a puma too.
And if the adage is true, I should still have 6 lives left.