It's Sunday night and I'm at a coffee shop, using their Wi-Fi because of course my house is still in shambles from painting the damn computer room floor, and I have no modem. Before all hell broke loose and I lost my cat, I'd been very concerned about the shiny coat of sealer I put on that floor, as I think I did it too thick and now it's showing up brown in places. Now that Lily's gone, I do not give two shits about my floor.
I am at a table next to The World's Most Annoying Young Person®, which is saying a lot because suddenly people under 30 bug the SHIT out of me. The thing? Where every sentence is a question? Ohmygod SHUT UP.
Anyway, this youngster at the next table is EXTREMELY impressed with herself, and thinks people who envy all the stuff that just seems to, like, fall in her fortunate lap are, like, so sad and, like, need to get over themselves and wow, pot. This is the kettle.
So, I don't even know when Lily disappeared. She's just always on her condo, and I take for granted that she's there. She could have left Friday, or Saturday. I wish I knew. The part where she'd walk out the back door is weird enough, but the back yard is fenced, so to get out she'd have had to lug her rather impressive bulk up a fence, or smush her still-impressive bulk under the fence, which, really? And why?
Ned and I searched the house: the grate where the heat comes out, closets, under everything, bookshelves, behind the dryer, you name it. We printed signs and hung them all over, using my Hello Kitty duct tape to draw attention to the signs. We taped one next to another sign in our neighborhood: LOST: Black Lab with gray muzzle.
"Ohhhh," I said to Ned, taping Lily's beautiful picture up. Every time Ned saw Lily's picture he'd get weepy again. "Someone lost their old dog. How awful."
The damn animal shelter didn't open till 1:00, so we got on the road as soon as we could. On the way there, on a busy freeway, we saw a black Lab with a gray muzzle. "PULL OVER!" I yelled to Ned, who of course couldn't because, you know, freeway. He did turn around, though, and I found a place to walk right next to the freeway, headed toward where the dog had been running. I walked a long time and didn't see him, but when I got back to the car, Ned said, "Bitchy-Resting-Face Alex called."
My coworker Alex with the bitchy resting face sees me EVERYWHERE, ALL the time. The other night, when we ran into each other at the produce section of the store, she yelled from the limes, "STOP.STALKING.ME." We were both at the baseball game the other night and did not run into each other, "but just knowing you were there was comforting" she told me the next day.
The fact that she saw me walking the freeway today furthers my theory that she, in fact, is stalking me.
(Y'all. World's Annoyingest Young Person® is spouting forth on her feelings about Caravaggio. Ima kill someone. Thank heavens I just bought a restorative caramel apple bacon muffin to keep my wits about me. Caravaggio. Go fuck yourself. Go fuck yourself chiaroscuro-ly.)
The point is, she had seen the dog, too, and knew that's why I was Forrest Gump, all of a sudden, running on the road, there. Ned and I went back to my neighborhood and got the dog owner's phone number, told him where we'd seen his dog, and got him in touch with BRF Alex, who saw the dog leave the freeway and head to a neighborhood. At that point we headed to the shelter for our own drama, so I don't know what happened after that. "My dog is such a magnificent animal," the guy told me over the phone.
When we got to the shelter, we had to stand in a line and get a form to fill out. We went to a row of chairs where other people were filling out forms, too, and the guy next to me had a teensy squishy-boo baby kitten head with stripey stripes and big big big kitten eyes he was adopting and honestly, there is nothing. NOTHING. I love more than a kitten.
Without even asking the guy if I could pet his new kitten, I reached over and petted her walnut-sized head. I was having a great time ignoring my own missing cat's needs when a woman came in with her tiny dog, headed to a tank, and
PULLED OUT A 70-FOOT SNAKE.
"Hello, baby. What a sweet baby you are. Yes, sweet baby."
Ned and I exchanged a look. "I know," he said to me. I was just WAITING for that nutbar to drop the snake right on my neck. Sweet baby. Good gravy.
For some reason, I was spurred to finish my form, then, and we headed to the part of the shelter where I learned about Roger's demise. Like I needed that. Like I'm not a mess already. And guess who was there? The woman who told me about Roger, herself.
"How y'all doin' today?" she has one of those voices, and faces, that tell you, "I am no stranger to the cigarette." I liked her the last time I was there, and I liked her today. She sent me back into THREE ROOMS, THREE ROOMS, y'all, of cats who've been turned in in the last 48 hours.
I searched every cage, and almost all of them were full of teensy boopy squeeegeee kissy-head boopy boop kittens, each one cuter than the one before. If it were possible to have a kitten orgasm, I'd have had one. There was a buff-color one with the brightest blue eyes. There was a whole pile of gray ones piled on top of each other. There was a black kitten glaring at me with attitude. And then there was the bobkitten.
He looked JUST LIKE a bobcat, only he was a teensy boopy squeeegeee kissy-head boopy boop kitten. He was sitting in his food dish, absolutely upright, like a person.
"Look at him! He thinks he's folks!" I said, ignoring that my own cat was missing again. Right then, the bobkitten stuck his tongue out, and left it there. He kept sitting upright. "I LOVE YOU SO BAD!" I yelled at him. He seemed indifferent to my charms.
The point is, Lily was not there. All the emergency vets have my name and her description, and so does the shelter now. Also, I said to Pall Mall, over there, the woman at the shelter, "I just wanted to tell you that you broke the news to me that my cat was dead, and you were so good to me about it. I've always been so grateful."
"I remember that," she said. "The Christmas kitty."
"YOU DO NOT REMEMBER THAT!" I said.
"I do. I always hate breaking that kind of news."
It occured to me after I left that she must think I'm the worst cat mom in the world. Oh, hey, the one with the dead cat who had on the Christmas collar. And now three years later, another one's missing. Yeah, there's Cat Owner of the Year.
So, that's what's going on, there. I agree with you all that if Lily is still alive, she can't have gone far. She'd be too scared. I just wish she'd come home. I hate the thought of her so scared. She's too fluffy to be scared.
I'll talk to you tomorrow, when I will expound on my feelings about Caravaggio.