Where Oh Where

Last night, our slender gray cat, Smoke, got lost. We didn't print up a bunch of fliers and paper the neighborhood, though; we're rather used to it. You see, she got lost the night before, too. And several days ago, as well. In fact, at least once a day or so, she can't be found; by herself, that is. She'll meow loudly, plaintively, in a way that echoes off the smooth tile that dominates our flooring, making her call much more demanding than it might otherwise sound. Like a little kid "lost" on the other side of a clothing rack, out of sight of mom, she calls out to be found. Her people are lost; where could they be? Don't they know where she is? The cry goes out, bouncing down the hall just as we start to drift off to sleep. No answer? A half-minute later, she tries again. Louder. A judgment is made: which disturbs our nascent slumber less - the noise, or mustering a rapidly dissipating consciousness to do something about it? "Smoke, we're in here!" The jingle of her collar and the rapid slapping of kitty paw pad against cool ceramic mark her approach, broken by another meow, listening for our response just to make sure she's getting warmer. The sheets near our feet tense slightly as she alights on the bed, surmounting whatever lumpy forms keep her from her destination. The small gap between our pillows is tailored to her frame, with just enough room for her to circle once or twice. Her tail brushes my nose; her tongue tastes Christina's. She's found, we're found, and the house is silent.

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