piece of the puzzle / missing part / by Laura Kochman

The cat scared the shit out of me last night when I came home from dinner and a movie with my parents, and the house was empty. When I walked in, I thought, That's weird, the cat isn't here to greet me, but I figured he was asleep on my bed. He wasn't. He wasn't anywhere in the house. I looked under and in everything, even opened the dryer (the first time I have opened the dryer at all--no way he could have been in there). I thought he was hiding, but couldn't find him anywhere. I even called a friend and asked her if she had been in the house, knowing that I hadn't given anyone a spare key yet, clear evidence that I was hysterical. Then I noticed, in the front windowsill, where I had remarked earlier that the screen was a little loose, there was a bit of his fur stuck to the loose nail. Cue uncontrollable tears, because I live by a busy road and my house is surrounded by feral cats that fight all the time and there are storm drains and he doesn't wear a collar and he's so friendly someone might have picked him up and taken him home and all these possibilities kept running through my head as I wandered around in the dark, crying so hard I couldn't call out his name.

Eventually friends (amazing, kind, understanding friends) showed up to help me look, and I think then it took maybe about 20 minutes before I heard him meowing under a truck (where I had definitely already looked, where he must have shown up from wherever he had gone to). I threw my keys and phone down and RAN to the truck, where he wouldn't come out, then did but rolled around on the asphalt like no biggie! It's probably obvious from my blog header, but I love that cat, and the mere thought of losing him makes me feel like throwing up. I am going to nail all the screens down.

This morning he slipped past me as I was going outside to the porch, and I grabbed him just as he scooted by, which he has never done before. At the old house, he liked to sit in the window and look outside, but he seemed happy to be an inside cat. Well, dear cat, you are not going outside. I like you too much to let anything happen to you out there. Content yourself with hiding in the space between the bathtub and the shower curtain.