With trembling fingers she sets the little box down. The brown eyes of the woman sitting in front of her are filled with professional sympathy and she feels the steadying hand of her fiancé on her back.
“It's her”, she whispers in a hoarse voice.
Her fiancé smiles, but the smile never really reaches his eyes.
“I'm so sorry, I couldn't bring you the urn you requested, there was only one left and it was slightly cracked, but I know how important it was for you to have her back home.” The lady from the pet cemetery leans forward. “I will call you immediately when we have the urn, especially because the cat on it looks like your baby.”
“Thank you”, she manages.
She glances at the cat's scatching post and back at the tiny box in front of her. It seems impossible to be true. Twelve years she has had this cat, called her her baby, felt the weight on her lap, heard her snore in her ear at night.
Such a tiny box.
Tears well up in her eyes and she catches a glance of her fiancé, seeing the tears in his eyes too, promising her that she is not alone in this.
Shortly after the lady of the pet cemetery leaves, leaving the devastated parents alone in their sadness.
Carefully they set the box in the cupboard with all the favorite toys and a photo, the glass door providing a perfect view on everything that was left of her world.
A tiny box of ashes.
Nothing left of those beautiful green eyes, the cute, ice cold nose, nobody to purr in her ears at night.
Numbness follows the pain. Pain follows numbness.
She doesn't know how she will survive this.
Nothing really seems to matter. Food tastes like clay.
She expects to hear the pitter-patter of paws every moment. Her arms feel so empty without the tiny furry body in them. The days tick by, but she loses track of time.
Then her fiancé finds the tiny claw in the couch. She sees a whisker on the bathroom floor.
Is it just their imagination? The grief?
But the gifts continue to come.
And when she sees her baby from the corner of her eye, healthy again, hurrying down the scratching post to greet her, she knows she will survive.
Her baby had never left her.