Signs Of Life


Spring 2003 – Thirteen year-old Andrew with his young friend Zoe

Monday morning
The snow-covered ground outside is alive with differing sizes and shapes of prints. They tell the tale of industrious birds, squirrels, chipmunks, deer, crows and more.
It is no different from what goes on inside a home.
Robert has just left for school, his room is alive. His bed is unmade, yesterday’s clothes didn’t make it to the laundry basket, a candy wrapper landed close to the paper bin, loose change is on his bedside table.
Yes, anybody poking their heads into Robert’s room, would know that someone lives there.
The only sign of activity in Andrew’s room is Hugh’s and mine. One of us goes in to open the blinds in the morning, and one of us goes in to close them at night.

Our cat used to love sleeping with Andrew. Even when he was at college, she would go in and lie on his bed.
Then she stopped. How did she know? What did she know?
When we brought home the picture of Andrew that we’d had made into a big poster, for the Ippazzi concert, Zoe – the cat – stared at it for a long time.
“You have no chance of making him blink,” I told her, tears welling up in my eyes.
You see, to everyone’s amusement, Andrew would sometimes get into a who-blinks-first-contest, with our cat.
He was able to look at her without moving a single muscle on his face. He always outstared her.
And, she would listen to him. If he said to her: “Zoe sit,” she would sit. And she wouldn’t pester him for food like she does with us. Instead she’d let him pick her up, and stroke her.

“Have you seen Andrew?” I ask Zoe sometimes, desperate for news. She cocks her head and looks at me intently, her sweet face alive with feelings.
Maybe it’s a trick of the light, but suddenly her eyes look as moist as mine.

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8 thoughts on “Signs Of Life

  1. Our lab Lucy would be my bad cop in getting Jono out of bed in the morning and quite often in the afternoons. It was actually quite clever of me, I don’t receieve the precursory bad additude and evil looks from the disheveled bed and Lucy is just too darn cute (all 95lbs of her launching on the motionless mound, joyfully licking eye boogers and dry drool) I would always chuckle from the top of the stairs as the comotion within a safe distance.

    Lucy has just been diagnosed with bone cancer. We are anticipating when will be the right time to put her to her sleep. It is an agonizing decision playing God. I know that when the time comes I will gently press my lips to her ears and say “go get Jono…” That boy will be waiting for her.

    • Oh… And do you know… before Zoe, we had Topolino (Micky Mouse) a ginger tom we brought over from England. I had him before I had the children and the children grew up having always had him, he was truly integral to our family. We had to put him down On Sept. 8, 2001. We were all heartbroken, the night Topolino died, Andrew had a complete melt down, he was inconsolable. It has occurred to me that Topolino must have been miaowing, waiting together with Andrew’s baby brother, on the other side. They must have had such a happy reunion…..
      All my love Lucy, and when you get there, say hi to everybody, big loud bark, as loud as you can sweetheart, from all of us!

  2. Signs of Life…my heart was both warmed and broken as I read this post. I appreciate your consistency as a blogger and your versatility as a writer. I’ve begun to look forward to finding out what Esmeralda has written about today!

    And have we not also seen, heard, and/or felt “Signs of Life” from our sons still yet? I have. And I treasure each one, though not as frequent as I’d like and, unfortunately, seemingly not within my power to control.

  3. If you don’t want to cry, don’t watch this!

    If the link doesn’t work. You can find the song Why? by Rascal Flatts on You Tube.

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