After losing Cassidy my life had settled into a mind-numbed, dazed and dumb routine. Every day I would auto pilot through work, willing the hours to slip away, barely mindful of what I did (and more often than not) what I didn’t do. Every night I would rush home eager to check the voice mail hopeful someone had spotted, or better yet, captured a calico cat. Namely mine. It was always the same. No messages.
Then I would sit on the back deck, a book in hand, reading out loud, hopeful the sound of my voice would draw my calico kitty out of hiding. It was always the same. Sitting on my ass and reading to the wind felt too passive a search effort.
Then I would change into long sleeved shirts and pants, douse myself with bug spray and search the woods, hopeful I would catch a glimpse of my orange, gray, white and brown girl with one blue eye darting through the foliage. It was always the same. I would slog through swamps, crash through thick underbrush, hold my breath through swarmy clouds of bugs and constantly call to nothing. The silence that answered me was heart wrenching. I thought she was dead but knew that I couldn’t believe it.
Then I would hit the streets of my neighborhood armed with fliers of my calico’s face. If people were in their yards I would approach them with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. Have you seen her? Please tell me you have seen her. It was always the same. “There are coyotes in these woods” they would reply. I knew her dead but thought I shouldn’t believe it.
Any advice I treated as gospel. I bowed down to the gods of desperation and tried anything and everything put before me. I arranged Cassidy’s litter boxes in the yard – one in the front and one in the back “so she can smell herself and know her home” I was advised. The first torrential downpour swamped the box and made a mess of its contents.
I put cat food outside “so she will be drawn to her home when she is hungry” I was told. We ended up feeding every neighborhood cat but our own.
Position cameras at every door “so you can see when she comes home even when you aren’t there” I was directed. We watched the neighborhood cats eat our cat’s food. We watched a skunk dig for grubs.
Meanwhile the rest of my life was being washed away on a tide of tears. I had no interest in taking care of kisa or myself, never mind our remaining cat, Jones. I stopped working out or buttoning my clothes properly. If something was inside out I shrugged. I barely acknowledged the error. I had no desire to cook and I took no notice of what I ate or how it tasted. I started to drink large bottles of wine before bed in an effort to pass out. I started to wish for those wine-buzz bottles at 9am. I refused to listen to the sounds of the night knowing Cassidy wasn’t one of them. I could barely hear the day for it’s lack of sympathy. All this over a cat. Always the same. Always Cassidy.