In 2017, Dr. Cassian Andor puts his lake house in the small town of Yavin, Wisconsin, up for rent. He’s moving to Chicago to start work at Chicago General Hospital in its ER. As he leaves, he places a note in the mailbox for the next tenant, asking her to forward his mail. “Sometimes the mail around here can be unreliable,” he adds. “And some things might slip through the cracks. Please also note,” he adds, “the paint-embedded paw prints in the walkway were already there when I arrived.”
The letter gets to the next tenant. Except it gets to her in 2015, on the day before Valentine’s Day, and she’s already been living there for the past year. Unfolding the letter in the walkway to the house, architect Jyn Erso says aloud, “Paw prints?” and sees nothing when she searches at her feet. But as she scoffs, a dog runs by, leaving fresh paw prints exactly where Cassian said they would be.
“How did you know that?” she says to Cassian, but of course, he cannot hear her. Instead, she writes him a letter asking him how, forwarding it to the address he left. Jyn mails it and soon forgets about it. She goes to bed. She goes to work the next day. She tries not to think about her estranged father, Galen, who designed and built the lake house for her late mother, Lyra.
On a surprisingly warm Valentine’s Day in 2017, Cassian has lunch with his colleague, Dr. Kay, in Daley Plaza, where they witness a car accident. A woman dashing through traffic is struck by a bus, and Cassian rushes over, trying to save her. But she dies in his arms.
This death hits Cassian hard, and for whatever reason, he is compelled to write Jyn back.