In our home, I do the lion’s share of the housework. He lies on the sofa while I vacuum around him, his eyes closed, the only movement the slight twitch of his tail’s dark tip.
I walk the streets of the city at midnight as he pads beside me, his great tawny head swaying. The terracotta fox picking at the bins freezes in salute. The roiling drunks outside Debenhams hold their punches, the kicked fallen cease their calling out for help, as we pass in our bubble of gold. The heat of his pelt brushes against the blue-skinned homeless outside the Central Station, giving them dreams of fire.
We can’t see the stars from here.
He is the last of his kind, just about, a European lion. They hunted where the Channel is now, before Britain was snapped off from the Continent like a fragment of gingernut. At last, we’re going to his cave, where his pride line the walls. Cinnamon shoulders hunched, long spines rippling, coming to greet us with a growl. I’ll sit at the entrance watching the stars, while he does my share of the work.