Location: Nashua, New Hampshire
Date of Encounter: January 21, 2005
As I lay in bed, waiting for my snooze to expire, I heard my cat, Rhythm, eating from her dish in the bathroom. When the radio blared to life again, it startled her and I discovered that she was actually next to me on the bed. I realized that it must be Opus.
Opus, my wonderful black and white cat (named after that famous cartoon penguin), was quite ill, and had spent the last few days at our vet's offices. I knew he wasn't in the house, but even Rhythm heard him and got off the bed to investigate. If he had come back to the house in spirit, I knew he wasn't long for this world. Indeed, later that day Opus left us as I held him, promising him that he would soon have all the cheese his little dairy-loving heart could want. The next morning, I again woke to the sounds of breakfast being consumed in the bathroom. I wasn't surprised this time when I reached my hand out and found Rhythm at my side.
I have since caught glimpses of Opus in some of his favorite napping spots, but sometimes the black and white butt I see turning the corner isn't his; you see, we have several cats and dogs in our house, but only one that most people can see. A few of them are from my husband's youth, as this is his family home, and the pets they lost through the years still visit from time to time. In fact, the pets aren't the only visitors.
I moved into our house after Michael and I married in the spring of 1999. He works the third shift so he sleeps during the afternoon and evening of most days. When I first arrived, I would often hear what sounded like a radio or TV playing, faintly, somewhere in the house. It was always the sound of two men talking. I soon realized that it was actually Michael's father and uncle chatting about sports, or some such thing, despite the fact that they had both died before we married. It never frightened me, and I must have gotten use to it, because I rarely hear it anymore. I know they still have their chats because last fall, during one of my Mum's visits, I mentioned the sounds to her. Her mouth dropped open and she said, "So that's what I've been hearing!"