It snowed for the first time in a long time tonight, and despite leaving work early I still somehow managed to arrive home well past my usual hour, when the apartment was still dark except for the light above the stove which casts a feeble but reassuring and welcoming glow across the room. Olive and Pip met me at the door, as they almost always do, their faces mixed with anxiety and relief at my arrival, hopeful that I would forgo my usual routine of changing my clothes before starting their dinner. They yowled and purred happily as they entwined themselves around my ankles as I move slowly through the darkness, and still Duncan did not appear.
After I'd shaken the snow from my coat and hung it up, slipping out of my shoes and donning my slippers in one fluid and well-rehearsed motion I stepped quietly down the hall and found Roo laying on the bed, his silhouette a silver outline against the low light seeping through the window. He seemed oblivious to my presence and did not stir even when I climbed up behind him, a big spoon against his warm body. His eyes, half open, were only half-focused on the snow falling outside and I could tell from his deep breathing that he'd been sleeping and wasn't awake enough to realize I'd come home. I bent my head down to his ear and whispered softly to him, "How's my boy?" as I draped one arm across the shape of him and gazed over his shoulder at the big, fluffy flakes sticking to the window. We laid there a few minutes before he tensed and stirred and I felt the soft thump-thump of his tail against the blanket. Then he turned to me, rolling on his side as he moved, a soft whine, more like a sigh, whispering from his throat as he licked my cheek and settled back down into the pillows, content and lazy.
And there we stayed for a long time, enjoying the quiet of the darkness, the warmth of our home, and the soft twinkle of the snow falling three stories below.