I wander from room to room, following the clean man-smell of his aftershave. It’s strongest in the bathroom we shared, so I crouch in the corner, calling his name. Some nights I even sleep on the bathroom floor, afraid to lose his scent. When that’s finally gone, what will become of me?

Friends and family offer to come round, but I can’t bear the thought of that sea of masks, the oceans of distance between each of us. The virus took my husband, and now it won’t even let us survivors hold each other close for solace. I can’t seem to stop shivering.

I finally pull myself away from the Martin-scented bathroom and crawl into my own bed. I dream of the old life, with him curled up beside me. I awake to tear-soaked pillows and a huge empty space.

I’m desperate for warmth so I order camellias, in colors of flame and hot pink. When they are delivered, I realize that they have no pulse; they do not breathe. They are cold to the touch. I throw them out.

“I’m sending you a ragdoll, Claire,” writes a friend. I don’t understand, but I am beyond curiosity, beyond caring. My heart is ice.

When the basket arrives, I bring it in without giving it a glance. We sit side by side in silence, gradually accepting each other. I begin to relax. No masks. Only inches between us. After what seems like hours, I turn to look at her. She stretches, yawns, and opens her eyes. They are the bright blue of a cloudless sky, a child’s balloon, a prayer answered. In one elegant motion, she leaps out of the basket and into my arms. I stroke her silky fur. Her heartbeat is strong and certain, her breathing warm and content. I rock back and forth, burying my face in her softness. Love and grief mingle and melt and merge.

“Thank you,” I whisper to Martin, to the beautiful ragdoll cat, and to my own strong heart which is breaking and mending, breaking and mending.

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    Eric Radcliffe
    Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
    2 years ago

    Hello Fuji, how you captured and expressed the feelings of losing a loved one. How will we ever recover? Then you go on to show that the heart is always capable of loving again, always room to love.

    Andrew Carter
    Andrew Carter(@andrew-carter)
    2 years ago

    Very poignant and heartfelt, Fuji. At first, I thought it was a ragdoll doll until it leapt from the basket which was a heartwarming twist.

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    2 years ago

    Lovely story Fuji. You really captured the essence of loss so well, and how well a pet can help you heal. We have six cats here, my son also has a half Ragdoll and a Maine Coon and my daughter has two cats too, so we all know the feline experience very well and how easily they can creep under your skin. Mine have certainly helped me through some very difficult times.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    2 years ago

    Hi Fuji, this story expressed the sadness of losing someone that you love the most. It is very painful like you can’t hold your tears from falling. But your broken heart is healed by a ragdoll cat. A very lovely story, Fuji.

    Sandra James
    Sandra James(@sandra-james)
    2 years ago

    A beautifully written, heartfelt story, Fuji! You have captured the feelings of loss as well as the accompanying rituals used to try and preserve the memories perfectly. For so many people a cat or another pet makes a huge difference. Well done!

    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    1 year ago

    Miss Fuji, I thoroughly enjoyed your heartrending account of losing a loved one. You really captured the feeling of loss. So glad of the happy ending! Loved your poetic descriptions of the cat’s eyes.

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