Meet Allan.Every afternoon just as the sun would start to turn that deep golden, the rough scraping noise would start. My cat would start at the front window, head high and alert, eyes transfixed, then follow him, running from one window to the next, as he made his way along the driveway. 40cm from the floor on every window is lacework of nose smudges.
Allan would rake clean the concrete driveway every afternoon. Every day, he’d gather the fallen gum leaves into piles and deposit them on the garden than runs along the timber paling fence next to our shared driveway.
Swish, scrape, scrape.
Catching the last of the daylight, Allan would make it his mission to get rid of the offending detritus. His high waisted slacks belted tight halfway up his torso, solid dark leather shoes with a sensible sole and olive green polo shirt in the summer, and woollen pullover in the winter.
I began to let the cat out to watch him from the balcony. Keeping her distance, she didn’t want to join him, only observe him. After he had finished his self-assigned chores, he’d lower his 6 foot frame onto my front steps and indulge my furry girl with fusses. They became very fond of each other and I’m not sure who was more disappointed when we moved out.
The first Christmas after I had moved in I was enjoying a few glasses of wine in the quiet after an indulgent lunch and I heard a whirring noise and someone giggling. Knowing I only had my two older child-free neighbors living behind, I wondered what that noise could be. Glass in hand, I stepped onto the front veranda to see Allan maneuvering his new remote-control car up and down the driveway, giggling all the while.
In an odd way, I miss Allan.