Anne brought predictability to the family while everyone around her went about their lives. She stayed in the background but ensured the house ran smoothly. Her father John who lived alone nearby arrived every morning to walk his grandson Daniel to school. All of them would have breakfast together as a daily ritual before John left, to first drop Daniel and then to spend most his day helping the local church with administrative matters. While John and Daniel were gone, it was the turn of Noodle, the dog, to get Anne’s undivided attention. In the evening, the family met again for dinner, before John bade goodnight to walk back to his house.
The routine went on for such a long time that it was difficult to look back and tell one day from the other, until one day when Anne was no longer there.
Anne was never as much in the foreground as in her absence. The empty kitchen, the piling laundry, the dusty windows, Noodle’s matted fur, the locking of the house every morning and unlocking in the evening, John’s increased forgetfulness, sleeping without stories, mischiefs without consequences – all made her conspicuous by her absence. If life were to ever regain the rhythm of the old it wasn’t showing signs of it just yet.
John reduced his hours at the church and waited outside Daniel’s school every day along with Noodle, reading a book. After Daniel’s school they would go home together to do the chores, cook, share, bond and remember. Anne or her absence, it seemed, was again slowly but steadily bringing back predictability in their lives.