They carried flyers made from a home printer. A girl and her mother. They stood on my porch, toting a whole stack of them.
“I’m looking for HIM,” the little girl said, pointing to the flyer.
On neon-colored paper was a photo of a cat—white with black spots.
“He’s been gone two days,” added her mother. “My daughter and I are looking all over.”
This isn’t my first lost-animal case. Cats seem to find my house. I have adopted three feral cats in the last year.
I told the lady I hadn’t seen any feline.
“Thank you,” she said. “Call me if you do. Because it was kinda my fault he escaped. I’m a terrible mother.”
The flyer sat on my kitchen table with a pile of junk-mail and bills. I didn’t think much about it. Not even when my dog, Ellie Mae, whined at the back door.
When I opened the door, I saw black-and-white fur, nosing around our bushes.
I called the number on the flyer.
“YOU FOUND HIM?” were the first words of an excited mother. “I WAS SURE HE WAS DEAD!”
But cats are fickle and skittish. I called the cat. Which was a bad move. To whistle for a cat is like trying to lasso a rabid squirrel.
The animal got spooked. By the time the girl and her mother showed up, there was no cat.
The girl looked through the bushes, calling the animal’s name. She must’ve inspected every shrub, tree, and blade of grass.
The girl suggested leaving a bowl of tuna on the porch.
“He’ll be back,” assured the girl. “Trust me. I already talked to God about it.”
I woke up the next morning to text messages:
“Did you see him?” read one. “Sorry if I’m bothering you, my mom said I could ask.”
I checked the porch. The tuna was untouched.
Later that night, another text: “It’s me again, is he there?”
Another text: “How about now?”
This kid was nothing if not persistent.
A few mornings thereafter, I went to get the mail. I heard sounds on my porch. I saw black-and-white fur again.
A cat, lying on its belly. I didn’t make any sudden movements. I dialed the number.
The girl and her mother arrived in record time to find a feline reclining, swatting his tail. The little girl let out a happy holler.
That made me feel good.
She walked toward the cat and picked him up. The old boy was done roaming, I guess. The kid was over the moon. So was Mama.
So was I.
“I was SURE he wasn’t coming back,” her mother said. “But my daughter just kept telling me, ‘Keep believing, Mom. Believing is how miracles happen.’”
Well, I’ve been alive awhile. Not long, but awhile. I’ve learned things. Seen things. I’ve shaken hands with veterans. I’ve seen Willie Nelson sing “Amazing Grace.” I’ve watched eclipses. I’ve known love.
So don’t misunderstand me, I don’t wish for anything more than what I already have.
But God, if you’re listening…
I wish I could believe like that child does.