“Lost: Joanie, little ginger cat aged 8 months”.
I noticed the poster taped to a lamp-post on my way home from work. It included a small photo of Joanie and a brief message from Jim, her obviously distraught owner. Joanie, loving but shy around other animals, had been let out by accident. Jim ended with “I am lost without her. She means the world to me”. I felt a pang as I imagined his sadness, his loneliness.
For it is loneliness that leads single, city dwellers to keep cats and dogs in apartments, even though good sense says they shouldn’t. I understood this well. I had moved to the city a year and a half ago. I lived alone in a tiny studio. I had office colleagues I would sometimes go for a drink with after work, if invited, but no friends. I was exhausted from making my way to and from work each day, from learning and trying to impress in a new job, and from fighting a rising tide of homesickness. Homesickness which made no sense to me as I had been quick to leave my home, my family, and my small, narrow-minded town as soon as I was given the chance.
I called into the supermarket near home, still thinking about Joanie and Jim. The contents of my basket screamed ‘lonely saddo’. A pasta meal for one, as I was far too tired to cook from scratch, milk, a cheap but pleasingly large bottle of wine, a tin of tuna, and a huge bag of fancy potato chips I couldn’t really afford.
I toiled up far too many stairs to my apartment and let myself in. I closed the door quickly as a ginger blur rushed towards me. As my heart filled with joy, I knelt down to kiss and stroke the little cat, saying out loud: “I’ve missed my special girl today”.
I guess Jim’s lost was my found.