A New Addition

This little scene was inspired by a prompt from Tomi Adeyemi’s site.  I had fun with this one…

**

“I had a cat when I was a boy,” Henry said, as he watched Liese play with her new kitten.  She had named the little fluffy white cat Edelweiss, after a white flower and a song her father had taught her.  “We always had an animal in the house: a cat when I was really small, then a dog.  I had another dog when I first moved out on my own.”

Markus frowned at him.  “Why didn’t you have any pets when we came then?” he said.  When Henry looked at him sharply, he shrugged.  “You obviously like animals, but you… stopped getting them.  Why didn’t you keep any more pets?  Was it because you weren’t home enough?”

Henry shrugged and nodded.  “That was part of it,” he said.  He heaved a sigh and said, “When Anne and Emily died, all I had was this old dog we’d gotten when we were married.”  He shook his head.  “He died, as happens with all living things and…  I didn’t know what to do.  I just knew it needed to stop.  Grave after grave after grave… I got tired of burying my friends.”

“It was the last piece you had of them,” Konrad said, his voice faint.

Henry looked at him intently for a moment.  Then, he realized that Konrad was absolutely right.  When Buffy had died, it was like losing Anne and Emily all over again.  It had ripped open a wound that wasn’t quite healed yet.  He nodded slowly.  “I just wasn’t ready for a new pet,” he said, smiling at Markus.  He nodded again.  “I’m ready now, though.  Edelweiss is Liese’s cat, but… she’ll be part of the family.  So, in a way, that makes her everyone’s cat.”

“Edelweiss has enough love for all of us,” Liese said, smoothing the cat’s fur.  In a soft voice, she added, “When she dies, she’ll still be a part of our lives.”  She looked up at Henry and shrugged.  “The dead stay in our heads, because we loved them.”

Henry smiled and looked at Konrad.  “What?” he said, his voice hardly louder than a whisper.

“She means… they’re always on our minds,” Konrad said.  “We think about them often, because we loved them.”  He shrugged and added, “The ones that loved us are never really gone either.”  He touched his chest and said, “We can always find them.”

“Even pets,” Henry said, nodding.

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