I kiss Maud every morning - her face cool, her smile warm.

She never says a word. She’s stone so that makes sense but I don’t think it’s the stone that’s stopping her.

She receives my kiss without complaint, without pulling away, without looking through me.

She’s patient. Quiet. Never needing me but always receptive.

Her steadfastness gives me pause every single time.

When I see Maud in the morning, gazing out from her perch, I call a cheerful “Hello!” on my way to make coffee.  Despite my breeziness, I find myself pulled closer until I can’t help but reach out and rub her pointy ears. Kiss her mossy nose.

I linger - always - for longer than I expect.

She has no heart yet I feel the whole of her as I lean in, cup my hand on her snout and give her a few light kisses, murmuring sweet words.

Technically, she has no soul yet her subtle smile holds my mother’s whimsy, my daughter’s delight. I feel the connection between them despite my distance from both.

Fully present now, I smile - really smile - as I look right in her eye, tell her I love her, and move on with my day.