A house guest that is staying with us for an extended period of time let her out on Tuesday night. Tuesday night/early morning there was an epic thunderstorm–those once a year kind of deals that shake the house and light up the night sky for several hours, like some kind of sick daylight.
Even though Felix is an outdoor/indoor cat (usually indoors, but goes out to go to the bathroom), when she didn’t come home on Wednesday I was immediately worried. So worried in fact, that I despaired. I had no hope. I looked for her around the neighborhood, asked a few neighbors, but mostly I gave up. Just like that.
That’s one of my major flaws. I’m an extreme “realist” to the point of non-action. What’s the point, my thought process goes, lost pets are hardly ever found. She probably ran off. Found a home without a toddler chasing after her. Or she’s dead. Crossed the busy highway two blocks away. Joined a feral cat colony. Gone, gone, gone.
Felix, who we took from my parents’ garage when we had only been married a year. Felix, who comforted me through pregnancy and postpartum depression. My writing companion, lap warmer, co-napper. Felix, beautiful Felix, who was so sweet, so kind.
I kept looking for Felix but didn’t find her. She didn’t come home. I grew increasingly upset as the days passed. When J and I were talking about our weeks this morning, he asked why I hadn’t put up flyers and asked more neighbors.
“It just seemed kind of pointless,” I said.
He sighed. “There’s my eternal optimist.”
I brooded a bit, but knew he was right. I just gave up. And that sucks. It sucks for Felix, who might be out there, and it’s very, very selfish of me. It’s a way of protecting myself, shielding so that if no news—or bad news—comes, it doesn’t hurt so bad.
But that’s no excuse. And it’s a shitty way to live a life.
So I let myself cry a bit. Then I made up some goddamn flyers, did some spell-work, cried some more, and finally walked around the whole goddamn neighborhood for a few hours. Through the woods, the perimeters of shared fences and apartments, up and down the streets. I noted a few cat colonies. I asked neighbors. Taped up the flyers.
My heart still hurts. I want my cat back. I want to know that she’s safe. It’s hard for me to hope. But there’s a candle burning on my altar next to a little cat sculpture that looks like her. Two cards from the Wildwood Tarot Deck are lying beside it: the Hooded Man, shining his lamplight into the dark, and Six of Vessels, subtitled Reunion.