High Society: Ingrid

High Society

The coffee pot was boiling over. Aubrey had knocked a tall vase of flowers from the kitchen table, drenching the floor in filmy ripe-smelling plant water and was tearing around the house in wide-eyed terrified glee. Music was blaring, spilling the jubilant if grating sounds of Florence and the Machine onto the street. Ingrid was determined to successfully chat up the postman today. Since moving on to the square last year she had become convinced that the two of them would hit it off and, after her date with the bizarre and inexorably disgusting Phil at the Ritz, she felt depressed by the idea of going on another blind date this week. The postman declined Ingrid’s offer of fresh coffee, which was probably for the best because it was definitely burnt and unpalatable by now. He also declined tea but that was probably, Ingrid thought, because Aubrey the stupid flat-faced cat was now sitting on the kitchen counter peering spitefully over the teapot at him and the stack of letters in his hand.


Ingrid closed the yellow front door leaving it unlatched, and stepped back into the kitchen to survey the damage and clear up the mess. She had had a lot of work done to the house since she’d moved in. The first floor was now totally open-plan and she’d had a bizarre spiral staircase that led up to her office installed. Aubrey had an entire corner of the kitchen to himself, in the centre of which stood an inappropriately large climbing castle, with sections optimised for clawing and napping. Ingrid stared down at the potion of burnt coffee and stale plant water bubbling around the plughole of the large white sink and then over at the cat who was now languidly stretching over the edge of his castle’s top floor in ridiculous celebration.


            ‘May I have a cup?’ Ingrid span round from the sink in alarm to see her very elderly neighbour Albert standing in the middle of her kitchen. His shock of white hair, usually so neatly combed and parted looked ruffled and there were bits of leaf protruding from the cuffs of his tweedy jacket.

            ‘It’s burnt,’ she said in relief. ‘Sit down and I’ll make us another pot.’ Albert sat and Ingrid looked him up and down. ‘What’s all that leaf?’ Albert didn’t answer her, and instead spoke to Aubrey who had padded towards him and stood a foot away looking disinterested and dim. Ingrid laid out a few croissants on a plate and joined him at the table.

            ‘Fancy dress is it, dear?’ Albert gestured towards Ingrid’s silky kimono, chuckling to himself.

            ‘This is just what I wear at the weekends,’ she replied laughing. Despite his tendency to wander into her home uninvited, Ingrid was very fond of Albert. She enjoyed the sense of community that living on the square brought with it and thought it safer for Aubrey to live in a place where people could keep an eye on him. Although, with that said, the cat had seemed far more strung-out than usual this week.


            ‘Have you seen much of Aubrey this week?’ she asked him. ‘He seems a bit shaken up to me. I’m worried something might have happened to him. On the road maybe, you know?’

            ‘Mm? Oh yes, Aubrey and I have seen one another. She is a very fine cat, you know.’ He mused for a moment, staring absently out of the window. ‘Would you like take a turn around the square with me? It’s a very agreeable day.’

            ‘I’d love to’, beamed Ingrid, reaching for Aubrey’s cat-harness, which Albert eyed suspiciously. He had often seen Ingrid walking the ridiculous ball of grey fluff on the light blue, paw print patterned lead and wondered whether the young woman realised that Aubrey was a cat and not a dog. The cat, now clipped into his harness was looking foully at the two of them.


She pulled on her UGG boots and led Albert out into the garden. He waved merrily at a man climbing into a car a few doors down. This man looked at Ingrid, then at Aubrey and promptly slammed his door, ducking behind the steering wheel waiting for the three of them to pass. Albert continued to wave as the man sunk lower into the driver’s seat looking guilty. Aubrey hissed at the car.


Meanwhile, as the woman in a bright red kimono, white-haired gentleman with bits of leaf poking from his jacket and the fat Persian cat on a harness ambled along the street, the coffee pot boiled over for a second time and smoke curled from the edge of the yellow front door, which was still unlatched, and leaking Florence Welch’s unmistakable wail into the quiet square.


Written by Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth


Head down to Emily’s free art event SKIN this Saturday (10th May) at The Gallery on the Corner, SW8 4BU. Full details here.



Next Wednesday: Charlie Malbery

Chapter One

Part 1: Charlie Malbery

Part 2: Albert

Part 3: Ernest Malbery

Part 4: Ingrid

Part 5: Dalton

Part 6: Melody

Part 7: Marion


Chapter Two

Part 1: Albert

Part 2: Melody

Part 3: Marion