When Love Strays
It’s 3:00 in the morning, and there’s something I haven’t told you. Beppo, our best beloved kitty, disappeared a week ago. After dinner he went out, and he never came back. This, a cat who never missed a meal. This, a cat who slept between our two pillows many nights. This, a cat who captured our heart to the extent that we brought him to France with us, and back again. This, a cat whom we loved to distraction. This, a cat who never came home.
Zazou is frantic, in her own way. She’s never known a life without Beppo, since we adopted her in France and brought her home to be Beppo’s friend.
I’m frantic, in my way. Beppo has always slept with me, comforted me, been the hit of every party I’ve given, followed me everywhere, loved me unconditionally, seen me through it all.
Sitting outside, drinking Spanish brandy, on a night still warm and filled with stars, Beppo is not in my lap. Beppo was almost never not in my lap.
The channel marker blinks on and off, on and off, saying here I am, here I am. Beppo does not tell us where he is, why he can’t come home.
Danger is everywhere in our world, but for seven years Beppo faced it all with a beautiful calm.
Eagles, racoons, coyotes, cars, even cougar prints in the sand, according to a neighbor. He could be shut in somewhere. He could have been catnapped by someone who admired his sleek silkiness and affection for everyone he met. The world seems to have swallowed him up, leaving us no clues.
Shel and I try not to cry, too much. Every time we walk through the gate, Beppo is not waiting for us, gracing the garden with his stripes and spots. When we eat, Beppo is not sitting in a chair next to us, not under the napkin on my lap. Worst of all, when I can’t sleep, like tonight, he’s not there, making sure I’m alright.
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