This is not and I'm sorry for that. I have been talking about this all over the Internet- from Twitter to Tumblr to Facebook and then some. For some reason I still can't bring myself to talk about it here. Like this is the place that things come to be real.
HoneyCat has been missing since last Wednesday (5/21). She was in the garden Wednesday afternoon but never came home that night. For an animal that would come OUT of the house just so she could come INTO the house with me, spending the night out turns out to have been just as frightening a harbinger as it felt like at the time.
Fliers (above) are littering my neighborhood. I walk through the streets and alleys first thing every morning, at night after work and last thing before bed. Calling her with kissy noises and a jiggling treat bag. I've been to both major city pounds and every shelter has a copy of her flier. She has a Craigslist post and a missing pet profile.
So far I've had five emails and four phone calls from neighbors who thought they'd seen her, wanted to help or just expressing that their thoughts were with me. The woman who took me around the city pound on Friday emailed me today to check in. I-friends and IRL friends and the hybrids have RT'd and Re-blogged and offered military-quality cat-hunts. In a word: awesome.
This morning's call was from a guy walking his dog. He'd seen another guy looking for Honey in that area (note: I've never met either of these neighbors) and had a sighting. I was making pie crust this morning (Jaimeson comes in tonight) and answered my phone with some surprise at 7am. When he gave me the coordinates, I nothing short of SPRINTED four blocks west.
I got there and started in with my kisses and coos. I heard paws and a tail moving through hostas.
And then a cat appeared that was not HC. Same coloring. Same basic size. But no tiger stripe down the nose. No huge green eyes. No extra four pounds. This cat's tail moved with more fluidity than the windshield wiper I've known and loved.
The biggest difference?
This cat was wearing a collar that indicated it lived at the house I stood before.
Of all the treats and warm laps and anthropomorphous conversations I gifted her with, that was the one thing Honey did not currently have and I failed her in that completely. I cheated myself as well. Out of answers, out of warmth, out of knowing. I've put pets to sleep. I've had a cat and a dog hit by cars in my quiet suburban childhood. But the vanishing? This is an entirely new breed of hurt.
When the Not-Honeycat came to my calls this morning and wrapped herself around my legs and let me hold her while purring in her Not-Honeycat way, I stood in front of my neighbor's house and dry-heaved into their housepet, the doppelganger who was likely the source of all former sightings.
And it makes sense that it would have been her that they saw and not mine. Because if HC was out and about? She'd be home. She'd be with me. We do everything together. People have told me not to put away her dishes yet, not to give up the ghost. "Cats do this." But I just don't think she does. Honey doesn't do this. She's a codependent, chubby chicken of a feline and the house feels so empty without her. As one of the first subjects I ever broached here, this place feels empty of her antics as well.Taken Wednesday morning, 5/21
I don't know what else to say...I am devastated.