I've an amazing friend who, over the course of the last two years, became quite the world traveler. Yesterday was the anniversary of those beginning moments of wanderlust.

And it feels like the cliche of being only yesterday when she left to find out what she is made of. The months leading up to her departure were full of loved ones filling the small spaces in her head with the 'what if' notions of catastrophe. I've embraced the notion that if you really love someone you can't worry about them. Those are contradictory vibes. So we began to speak of the 'what ifs' of the wonderfulness that awaited her. Imho, authentic love is like a light that we cast to help others stay on a steady path while holding faith the light merges and eventually becomes their own. I'm certain when I see her, I'll need to put my shades on! But this blog isn't exactly about her. It's really about my cat. The first cat I ever allowed to meow into my life...about 7 years ago.

I didn't like cats...because my mother didn't like cats. She thought they knew things they shouldn't. They gave her, and still do, the creeps. My aunt, her sister, (RIP) was so superstitious of black cats that every time I see one I have to stop to acknowledge them as an incarnation of her because of the memories of turning around and retracing steps just to avoid crossing their path is so seared in my hippocampus. But for the longest time, I believed I could never love a cat.

We were living in a mobile home in the middle of a trailer park surrounded by as-down-to-earth neighbors as you could get. There were always children running around and the smell of charcoal burning in grills. There was always the heavy metal streaming from one end of the park at ungodly hours and the incessant barking of dogs. We had no pets. Fish kept dying. But one day, when I pulled into the driveway, I noticed a small white object next to the door. At first, I thought it was a mouse because it was so tiny. It shocked me to realize it was a new born kitten. Of course, my little people were thrilled. I was literally in awe that it was alive. The mother had dropped it in transit and I waited for her to return. She didn't. We went looking all around for her with no luck. Somewhere in the middle of searching, it dawned on me that it was 'our' anniversary. Knowing the day would be low-key, I embraced the kitten as a gift and so began my cat-loverness.

Still so small and needing skilled intervention, I decided to drive 45 miles to the nearest mega-pet store. I explain to them that I couldn't find the mother and they agreed to nurture and feed it for the next six-weeks and that I would return for it. When I got home, a family was searching and asking if anyone had seen a kitten. Soooo...I turned around and went back to the store and got her. The mother nursed her and, after six weeks, Anniversary was returned to me. I called her Annie for short.

Maybe animals, like people, create their destinies. Shortly, after her arrival, we would move out of the trailer park into a posh golf course community. Annie had moved up the social ladder much more quickly than her siblings ever dreamed of. But like my friend, she had wanderlust. She'd have no part of being an indoor feline. So I would let her roam being a novice cat owner. Well, one of those roam-filled adventures was exactly 365 days after I had found her on my doorstep. Yes, the anniversary of finding Anniversary. This day she was near the doorstep. I had a brief thought to put her in the house but my fear of being late to some now-forgotten-date related to the children made me dismiss the the impulse. We made eye-contact then I drove off. Ah, there are just moments you want back. I came home and could not find her and we were scheduled to move in a few short weeks -- hundreds of miles away. I looked everywhere. I hung fliers. I went door-to-door. And daily, I checked the pound. Nothing. She was gone. And I was devastated.

We moved but we didn't sell the house. Instead, we leased to couples who needed an abode a little nicer than a trailer to live in while they awaited the finishing touches on their one-of-a-kind custom homes. I would make trips to check on the property. Nothing unusual to report except one day while I was inspecting an issue outside a rather fat cat walked by me...and kept walking.

Annie? She turned to me and had the most amazing bling dangling from her neck. Though she had put on weight which distorted her features a bit and like me she had aged a little, I knew it was her. I bent down and she came to me. The occupant told me the old woman behind the house had found her lost cat. I remembered the old woman being the only one who wouldn't open the door when I went around with my fliers. I learned from another neighbor that she had indeed lost a cat but I knew this was Annie.

Because I had been so devastated, my friends immediately replaced her. They felt like the only way to help me get over her was to give me a really cute kitten. I've never gotten over her. And I'm not much of a golf course kinda gal but it seems she is. I knew this was where she belonged. So I sent her my loving light as she wandered off down her path already sparkling left and right moving just a little slower than I remembered.