The yard is small, even smaller in the brief interlude between darkness and the first hint the sun is reaching over the horizon, like someone doing the final pull-up. Peter watches Tiggy, or the vague outline of her sleek body, as she follows her way along the fence, making sure all the smells are as she left them the night before. It is a strange ritual where she follows invisible threads, unpicking a rich tapestry only she can see.
Probably no different to her large eyes watching him late at night watching television. It must be strange to watch a grown man lie on the couch, yelling at the politicians or laughing at the comedians. These interactions are one-sided and therefore as invisible to her as this is to him.
And yet, they live together, leading separate lives, communicating is different languages, but it works. They don't ask the world of each other, no expecting the other to forgo their love of scents or late night comedy. They love each other because they are each other.
Peter thinks back to Grace and how their marriage was like watching each other patrol their own fence line, following uncomprehensive threads. Hers was the love of teaching. He could never understand why she invested so much into other people's children when she, herself, didn't want her own. How she saw her own life, as she sniffed her way along her fence, was mystifying for him.
And his love of trains, the sounds and smell of the engines and the force required to move thousands of tonnes along the metal veins that pumped life across the landscape excited him. Weekends away, waiting for the old steam train to pulse white plumes into the air thrills him. And for a while, it worked. Grace would lesson plan while Peter talked trains with the other enthusiasts as they waited on some bridge on some dusty back road. She'd scramble out of the car just in time to feel the whoosh of steam wash over.
But then there became the weekends when she no longer joined him.
Tiggy licks his face, bringing Peter back to the early morning of another day without her.