Arthur, the orange and white striped cat. lay buried beneath the earth. Above him was a place marker made out of twigs, a plastic Indian, and a feather.
Before that, two girls and a brother huddled together crying. It was snowing, the girls were five, and the boy was two. The oldest of the girls, whose cat it was, had wanted to help carry the body, but because she was little and dead bodies are heavier than living, she had no choice but to watch her dad carry him instead.
Before that, the family had gone upstate for the weekend, and brought the girl’s best friend, as well as her mom, her mom’s boyfriend, and their friend. The family had been gone for a month, and Arthur passed away the evening that they returned. The adults sat together with him as the cat died. They then decided to burry him the next day. The snowflakes were huge that day, and in the quiet, the adults were struck by how sacred life felt.
Before that, the gray cat named Spook hid under the table while children pestered Arthur. Spook was scared of people while Arthur was the more social kind who loved to be petted.
Before that, the couple brought their four cats upstate to their second home in the country: Basic, Masala, Arthur, and Spook. Basic ran away, returned for a bit, then disappeared for good, while Masala ran away soon after. Which left the couple with Arthur and Spook.
Before that, the wife received her Masters degree, and the couple visited the husband’s parents in England. There in the Lake District they decided to start a family.
Before that, the couple looked for a county house on Black Lake near Monticello NY. The woman was allergic to mold and most of the houses they had looked at were moldy, which inspired her to have a house built for them. Land was bought prior to their marriage, and shown to the man’s parents when they visited for the couple’s wedding.
Before that, two people had met during an Al Anon meeting. Donned in purple from head to toe, the man knew that the woman was trouble. And yet, he proposed to her three months later.