It's coming on midnight and here I am again, unable to sleep, wishing all the words filling my mind could be emptied here on the page leaving me void so rest would come and dreams could close in to fill the space. Then again, my dreams of late have been connected to my missing cat, Esme, and during most of them I am sending her pictures of our house and urging her with all my love and energy to return to us. In some of them, I hold her and pat her and tell her she is loved and missed so desperately. I see that she is healthy and happy and fending well for herself. She rubs against me and twines around my legs, thrilled to be near me. I worry for her safety out there against predators that are more knowledgeable, faster, hungrier, with bigger weapons for attacking.
One night last week my dreams showed her with our cat, Lefty, who we put down a month ago. She was rubbing against him, and he looked right at me. Did that mean she was with him? Or did it mean that he was looking out for her as he did when she was young, from wherever he is now? His energy was strong and sure and she trusts him so. With him gone now, I don't know that we will ever see her again. I'm still grieving for our Lefty and not sure whether my grief over Esme is premature. I try so hard to hold on to hope.
People have told me stories of how their cat was gone for days, weeks, months, and showed up one day as if it had never been gone. My daughter's cat, missing recently as well, came back a few weeks later, down a few pounds and with a fever, but happily home.
When is it time to say I've done all that I can? How long can I obsess on every message in a dream? Or stop constantly checking the answering machine hoping that someone found her? When will my eyes stop searching the ground cover as I drive anywhere? How do I move forward and let go at the same time?
It's already a brand new day and I am here, waiting still. If you can feel me, Esme girl, come home.