Here & Gone


          She left. No warning, no note, no bags – she was just gone. That was that. The next morning I was sitting on our front porch, on my front porch. I was still drunk from panic and exhaustion when I noticed the cat. She gave me a soft cry, barely audible over the drumming in my ears. Next thing I know she’s curled up in my lap, purring with her eyes closed. She reminded me of Kira – she was always falling asleep with her head in my lap, too.

          It didn’t take long for the cat to make herself at home. She made a bed of Kira’s jacket and slept there while I called the police, the hospitals, the bus and train stations. Kira hadn’t taken a thing with her. Her clothes, her car, even her purse were right where she left them. I just woke up and she was gone. It  took less than a day for the dread to set in. When I started to cry again, the cat leapt to my lap and rubbed my hand with her head. When I was sad Kira used to stroke my hands, too. She told me once that there was some magical pressure point to help me.

          The sun was setting for the third time since Kira had left. I didn’t realize I hadn’t eaten until The Cat scratched at the cupboard door. I fed her some milk and cheese, I had cheese and crackers. The cat stole a half a cracker and nibbled on it. It made me laugh, then cry. Kira used to nab bites of my food. It would peeve me, but it became endearing.

          Nobody had seen or heard from her in two weeks. She wasn’t injured or dead. She wasn’t on a plane, train, bus, or rental car. She wasn’t in jail. The phone numbers I had for her family were all shut off. I put my phone down on the table and turned to see two magnificent green eyes staring at me. The Cat was on a shelf staring through me. I was frozen. I thought I had been awake too long, yet again, and decided to stretch out on the couch. As it had been with Kira, The Cat also came and stretched out next to me – the little spoon to me. Before long I was in a dream.

          I was walking down the main street in Old Town – a place I would frequent with Kira, it’s where we had our first date and many after. I was trying to catch up to Kira – she was wearing a flowing outfit, she was never one for constrictive clothing, but this was part fabric, part wind, part shadow. I called to her again and again. I couldn’t hide the longing or the pain in my voice. No matter how fast I tried to run, she would be just beyond me. Finally, the words slipped away from me – I miss you. I love you. They were a mashed sob and whisper. They were a prayer, a fact, a plea. She turned and looked at me with the same huge green eyes that had looked at me before I dreamt.

 

          “I love you, too.”

          “Please, come back. Where did you go?”

          “I’m right here, Clay.”

          “What? Where?”

 

          I woke up with The Cat looking at me. From her eyes I felt like she could understand my sorrow. The Cat meowed, I held her and cried.