I realize in the morning that I’ve lost my precious kitty. I’ve had her for at least three years.

Initially I think, “She’s just hiding in plain sight and can’t be far away. I’m convinced she’s nearby. I snap on my iPhone flashlight and look beneath the couch. Only a few dust balls and an extension cord.

I rummage through the bedding. Perhaps she’s hidden beneath last night’s covers, still warm from my sleep. In desperation, I open the washer and dryer and even the frig. Of course not.

I leave no stone unturned in my search. I check outside my door, on the porch, in the courtyard’s green maze and beyond the door to the cobbled street. I begin to lose faith along with places to look.

I call my neighbor for advice and sympathy. Her commiseration does nothing to restore the cat. I spend the day at home rather than about town as planned, adjusting to my loss and mourning.

It’s hard to admit she’s gone and it’s final. She held irreplaceable treasures and potential joys. No more.

Ultimately, I locate a store called Colors where the same kitty can be found. My San Miguel friend accompanies me on the long walk. My sense of loss softens as I pay, press some bills into her and tuck her safely into my bag.

I feel strangely healed.