By the time Tia returned home, they had already buried the furry little body under the old jackfruit tree in the garden. She didn’t know how to break the news of Fluffball’s death, without breaking the six year old badly. She felt that the silence and the disappearance will slowly dissipate into the busy routine of her curriculum and the extras.
She was right.
Amidst all her preoccupation, Tia never even seemed to notice the absence of Fluffball. It was a bit unexpected, but she explained Tia’s denial to accept the void as her way of coping.
His plate was still filled twice every day, and the food never stayed. Most likely, the strays were having a feast every afternoon, in their tiny garden, when no one’s looking.
On her birthday, Tia got a handful of gifts. There weren’t too many relatives who could make it on that monsoon She was a bit amused when Tia saved one of the blue ribbons from the giftwraps saying that it would look perfect on Fluffball’s white little neck!
Next morning, the rain had stopped.
As she looked out into the garden, sipping her morning tea, she found the bright blue ribbon fluttering daintily beneath the jackfruit tree! “It must have got caught in the winds last night,” she thought to herself. She asked Tia about the ribbon, while hurriedly readying her for school. With a glint of joy in her eyes, Tia jovially told her how happy it had made Fluffball last night, when she had tied it on his neck.
Once alone, her curiosity took over.
Bending down before the jackfruit tree, she tugged, lightly, on the ribbon.
It didn’t come out as easily she had thought it would.
A harder pull made it clear that it was rooted deeply inside the soil.
Somewhere she could faintly hear a familiar purr.