We howled when they came and took Al for a walk, and not us. Later we heard their car returning but Al was not back from his walk. They came to pat and stroke us, and we felt a great sadness in their stroke, which made us feel uncomfortable. I felt wet drops of rain on my coat even though there was no rain. Where was Al?
Later at supper time, as I eagerly awaited my bowl, and ate quickly in case Al made a charge for my food, I noticed that Al was still not back. That night I curled up with mum without having to fight for my place. During the night mum became restless and started to bark at every shadow. Al was always the one who would go and see if everything was alright. They kept coming out to stroke us with the same sadness in their stroke and their words. Where was Al?
We sniffed his trial of scent to find him but each time it led to the gate. We kept picking up his scent for many days as it grew fainter. As long as his scent remained, we wondered when he would return. Where was he? Any time now he will come storming and jumping in wild abandon. In time the last trails of his lingering scent disappeared too. All that remained of his scent were my memories. In the dark of the nights I often caught a familiar scent and I moved to make a space for him.