As his breath grew calm, before it stilled completely, I felt his weight on my lap, as if what he’d carried these past weeks was now mine: not heavy, but not light either.
I spent the hour before sitting with him. He purred for the first fifteen minutes and I recorded it, as I had dozens of times before, and took photos of us both that I won’t look at again for a while. And then he stopped and I asked: are you done purring? Are you all out of purr?
We always communicated in looks, because words are just sounds, but for the next half an hour I told him what I remembered of our eighteen years together to remind myself.
And when I was done talking I laid my head gently across his thinned-out body and he purred again until the car came.
He went quickly. He was ready, and I’d known he was ready since the weekend, probably before. Looks, not words. I had never planned for it to be with my hands around him, right on his side, left cradling his head, but that’s how it was.
The house is empty. The only ghost is me. I don’t belong here any more.