My friend has just driven off in her car with a bundle of white gauze in her lap.

Wrapped within the gauze is the body of Meyo, her cat.

I had named the cat for her. "Meyo" means "living" and "eye" or "looking, looking". Meyo died of cancer, a process that took around two years. For the past few weeks she had grown thinner and thinner except for her abdomen which is where most of the tumours were.

Meyo had come to live with my friend around six years ago.

She was a very intelligent cat, with a sharply defined presence. She was a tortoise shell with beautiful markings around her eyes. Her eyes were large and very clear. She always insisted on making eye contact with anyone she encountered. She was difficult to ignore. She usually didn't want anything in particular, not even a pet, but she did want to be acknowledged, to be seen eye to eye.

I had gone to see how Meyo was. My friend was gone but Meyo was lying on the futon by the shoji window. I knew she was dead. I picked her up and sang a little song that she had known. Then I put her on a cloth I spread out on a table.

I knew that my friend would be back soon and so I went out to the garden to wait for her. When she got out of the car and came into the garden I touched both of her arms and told her what had happened.

We went inside. I held my friend for a while. She said that she would take Meyo to be cremated. We looked about for sometjing to wrap her in. I brought a white towel but it was my friend's best towel. She decided that some white gauze in her closet would be the best thing. She went to telephone the veterinarian hospital to let them know she was coming. She came back as I was just beginning to wrap the corpse in the gauze.

"Can't you close her eyes?" she asked me through tears.

I tried to squeeze one eye closed. Then the other. The first one slid open and the second opened a second later.

We both laughed softly.

"No one could ever close Yo's eyes," I said.

We both laughed a bit more as I wrapped the cat in the gauze.

We went out through the garden.

I put the bundle into my friend's lap once she was in the car.

This was about five minutes before I wrote this. No, make that ten.

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