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.