She went out to play Thursday afternoon, and didn’t come home that night. Or Friday, or Saturday. Nor Sunday or Monday. I put notices on the neighborhood message boards, asked friends to hold the vision of her return, and tried not to fret. Cats do these things, sometimes.
There were moments of imagining the worst, then of knowing she was fine. Moments of intense longing, and wishing.
Finally, she came bolting in, mewling loudly, demanding food and water. I filled her bowls, and waited for her to tell me about her five-day adventure. But noooooo. No explanation. No apology.
I tried to be at least a little ticked at her, but wasn’t able to. My friend Christina said of four-leggeds: “ . . . they know not the ultimate depths of how they touch us… which may be part of the charm they hold.”
Dictionaries say joy is “great happiness,” which I think of as a big emotion. But what I love most is her rubbing up against my ankle, or nestling against my side or my neck on the sofa. Sliding under the covers to curl up in the crook of my knee or at my feet as I sleep. Her purr after she dines or when I scratch her neck. My elation at her homecoming was somewhat short-lived, yielding quickly to the simple pleasure of her presence, her company, her touch. Is there something smaller than “great happiness” but equally as grand? As important?
I don’t know what it’s called, but every day Miss Kitty brings me sustainable, consistent, unadulterated joy. I’m glad and grateful that she’s home, and I think she feels the same way. She’s been stuck to me like Velcro ever since.