He lies on the white cushion, a fuzz of dark orange and ginger hairs; oblivious again. Sleeping, his breathing coming out in little snores. Amber coloured, diamond shaped eyes closed for the moment. His head rests on two paws, with his back leg and tail curled in front of him.
Awake, he was wandering up to the closed doors and pausing, as if listening to see if she's there behind them. Rubbing his cheeks up against the doorframes, depositing scent and surely smelling hers too? Does it smell different now that she has passed on?
He seems a bit confused not to find her after circling the flat a few times, and settles down to sleep on the cushion, shaded grey in patches by her darker hairs. He's always been the more sociable of the two of them, and he's never lived as the only cat in the house before. I wonder how he will cope, if he will change. He's only a couple of years younger than she is, but always seemed more kittenish, less grown up.
I am reminded of her with the minutest of routine things; her piercing miaow everytime I moved, as I obviously needed a reminder to head to the food bowl; her ability to weave in and out of my walking feet, almost but not quite tripping me on a daily basis; her jumping up onto the worktop so that nothing is safe. And now I am able to get out the butter and leave it on the side to come to room temperature without her knocking it off and over so the lid comes off and she can get into it to lick to her hearts content; but now that I am I wish I was not.
I keep thinking there should have been something I could have done to prevent it. I almost want to have something to feel guilty for, so that I could have made a difference. But I am glad I was there when she fell ill instead of having a night out on the town after the christmas party, to wake grumpy and hungover and unobservant. And I'm glad I was there when she went; it could so easily have been when I was away for the weekend, and the thought of returning to find her cold would certainly have kickstarted the guilt engines.
She was a scratchy bad tempered thing when I first got her, but over the years she mellowed, and she spent the last night licking fish paste and drops of water off my fingers. She went out of the world with tenderness, but tenderness did not leave with her...