Simba was a Siamese cat-an adventurer at heart. He went out all day to hunt and play, came back when the sky was on fire with dusk.

One day he never came back, not even after the sky went black. Nine days and nine nights we waited. We called, we asked, we prayed. He never would come back. We found his body on a cold January day, behind a fence on a rail. He was buried, he was mourned for. I kept his collar. Even after I knew the news I called for him, stroked the air. I felt the rage and the sadness. The drowning grief. Caged and locked up, the most important thing in your taken away like that. I remember his eyes, his long twitchy tail. The warmth he gave, the purr I received. I just wanted to say goodbye. Is that so much to ask? Fate took him without permission, didn't let me stroke him, clutch him one last time. I cannot forgive. I ask him each day to come back. Come back and say goodbye. Just please come back.

I imagine his goodbye if he comes back. A spirit glowing with holiness, his loving eyes watching me. Warm white fur. A cold nose. His rough tongue on my fingers. His gentle purr coursing through my body. He didn't want to leave this Earth. I didn't want him to leave it either. But he did without his willingness. My heart lies shattered. Only his return can mend it. But he can never come back. Heaven is a one-way ticket. Maybe I'll see him for a moment in a dream. Or see him flicker in the shadows in the corner of my eye. I love him. The pain shall never cease.