It has been five months.
I am haunted. I cannot let go.
When I walk outside, I look for you.
Around corners. Under bushes. Along the fence.
You’re not there. You’re never there.
I search the pet rescue sites, chasing your ghost.
Every black cat, young or old. It doesn’t matter.
No, this one is a kitten.
No, this one has green eyes.
I will never find you, because you’re not out there.
Gone is gone. And nothing will change that.
But I will keep looking.
And I will keep searching.
Because I am haunted, and cannot let go.
I keep a recharging cord on my desk at work for my phone. I have another on my nightstand.
I keep a third one in my backpack so I have one with me all the time.
The cigarette lighter adapter came with a cord, too. So did the emergency recharging battery pack.
Pretty soon, I had hundreds of these cables. Too many cables to count. My cats were playing with these things, dragging them around. I can’t even eat spaghetti anymore because I end up biting into a cable.
Now if only I could remember where I left my phone.
Most mornings, I wake up early.
I start a cup of coffee, have some yogurt, and eat vitamin and fiber chews.
Then I get out my wireless headset so I can listen to my favorite podcasts.
At some point, Tinny jumps up on my shoulder and takes a nap. And I pet her.
I can type or text while my arm is around her. She doesn’t mind much.
The earlier, the better. More time to pet her. But at some point, I have to get up, shower, get dressed, and go to work.
She hates those goodbyes.
I do too.
As I drove through the parking lot, I saw a black cat with yellow eyes and no collar streak from one car to the next.
I know that it wasn’t Bruwyn; he is gone forever. But Bruwyn was a feral kitten, and any black cat I see on the loose is probably a relative of his.
I parked, got out the cat treats, and poured a few out on the curb. Hissing and staring, the cat crept up and ate a few, then ran off again.
If I cannot have my lost son, at least I can honor his family.
My cat likes to sleep in my pants.
I try to be mindful, so when I take off my pants, I put then on the floor with the waist open and up, like a bowl or nest.
She never climbs into my pants while I watch. Only when I leave the room to make tea. Or go to the bathroom. Or fetch the mail.
When I return, she is curled up, nose in tail, asleep.
Such a cute little critter she is.
As opposed to the vicious, angry beast she becomes when I need to put my pants on again.
Even though I wake up early and have plenty of time to get ready in the morning, I find myself frittering and wasting time until I have to rush out the door.
So I prepared a routine and wrote it up on a dry-eraseboard tacked to the refrigerator. And every evening, I lay out everything I need tomorrow: vitamins, fiber chews, clothes, coffee pod and cup, and so on.
And it still doesn’t work. Because one of our cats usually sleeps on the clothes pile, and I end up playing with the cat instead of getting my morning routine started.
Most people’s pets like music.
For instance, my cat loves opera music.
However, she’s no longer satisfied with opera on the radio. Or on DVD or CD.
It has to be a live performance now.
At first, I had to smuggle her into the opera house. And I had to pay for one of those private boxes, because someone might have seen her in my backpack in a floor seat.
Then, an usher caught me, but he saw how much she loves opera now.
Ballet, on the other hand, is a no-no, after she attacked The Mouse King in Nutcracker.
I used to call Piper my little baby. My little burble baby, because she sang.
And when she died, I screamed that my baby was gone.
I found Bruwyn in the bushes. In the rain. In the dark.
He was solid black, so I called him a baby panther.
Myst arrived a few months later. She was Baby to me. The baby baby panther.
Bruwyn never came home, so she was the baby panther. The only one.
Tinny? Even smaller than Myst. But I call her kitten, not Baby.
I should just call them all Cat. Less confusing for all.
Tina flew a lot, but she didn’t like to read books or watch movies or listen to music.
Instead, she liked to knit. And she was really good at it.
She knitted sweaters and socks. On really long flights, she’d knit a blanket. Or something even more complex.
After 9/11, knitting needles were banned on flights, and Tina couldn’t stand the boredom.
So, she knitted her own plane. And pilot.
She flew around the world in her knitted private plane, knitting without end.
Eventually, she knit her own little world.
She lived happily ever after… until her cat unraveled everything.
In the Toy Hall of Fame sits a blanket that was inducted. Into the Toy Hall of Fame. Yes, a blanket is a toy. I’ve put a blanket over myself and played with the cats that way. And we had fun.
There is a stick in the Toy Hall of Fame. I’ve played with the cats with a stick that had feathers on it. While under a blanket. We had fun.
There’s also a ball in the Hall of Fame, and the cats sometimes chase or play fetch with one.
I wonder when the Hall of Fame will induct the cat.