pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: Echoes, silence, and absence

13 April 2017

Echoes, silence, and absence

12 April 2017

The days have been soft and warm, sunny and breezy, lovely low 70sF.

The house is silent. No small snores, no sound of stretch and roll, no little songs suggesting meal time. No dripping of his water dish. The sounds of the washing machine and dishwasher startle me because I'm unused to hearing them without the white noise of his water dish.

I wake at night, testing the bottom of my bed for a small warm body. He liked to sleep on my feet or behind my knees. Only when he was wearing the cone and it was a cold night would he consent to getting under the covers.

The windows where he used to sit and chitter at the birds or watch the butterflies are empty now. He had a funny habit of beating on the crank handles of my bedroom windows, trying to close them when the a/c came on, as if he knew they shouldn't be open. Or the sound bothered him.

He didn't like loud noises, and he abominated, separately and in concert, the vacuum cleaner, the washing machine and the piano. He had come to something of an accommodation with the piano, and would sometimes sit next to me on the piano bench while I practiced. I still find myself planning out cleaning so as not to disturb him.

There is no one to pounce on the bits of things that inevitably fall on the floor while I prep meals. He would play soccer with a piece of celery or ice cube and gobble stray things that he enjoyed like cheese or meat. He was a champion oven-watcher, and would wait cheerfully for the chicken or roast to be taken out, sitting demurely on the floor to receive his portion.

He was noisy walking across the wood floor of the dining room and we were mystified how a 10-lb cat managed to sound like a fully grown adult.

Slowly, traces of him are disappearing. Tuesday afternoon I put his carrier and his bed in the bin for today's pick up along with the dozen or so catnip mice I got him for Christmas, knowing it would be his last Christmas. His food bowls have been washed and put away; his water dish is gone. I gave a neighbor who has cats the rest of his food and extra litter.

I haven't been able to bring myself to vacuum the chair where he spent most of his time the last two weeks, so white fur is still enshrined there. He didn't like the vacuum, though I repeat to myself that it no longer matters. Part of me is still sure he's just in another room and I expect to find him luxuriating in the sun on my bed, or around that corner.

But the house is silent and I am alone.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.
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