The hunt for Polly began just after midnight. We knew she’d wandered off, but it wasn’t until the credits started rolling on our movie that we realized she wasn’t there at all. It wasn’t normal for her to be gone at this time of the night. Then again, we’d been distracted lately. Tonight was the first time Sera and I had been able to relax and watch TV in several weeks. We had curled up on the couch together, but Polly hadn’t been there, trying to sneak popcorn and waving her tail in front of the screen.

Sera and I searched the house, calling for her and peeking into her usual hiding spaces, but she wasn’t under our bed or in the basement. The house seemed huge, there were so many more tiny spaces than our old apartment. We couldn’t hear a single meow, so we ended up putting our shoes on and heading out into the yard. I pulled up my hood as Sera and I headed in opposite directions. It seemed unlikely she’d be out in this rain if she could help it, but there were many places to find shelter. The barn seemed the most likely, even if she wasn’t a fan of it. We had only moved to the farm a few months ago and Polly was much more content to stay inside the warm house rather than explore the drafty rotting wood of the barn. I didn’t blame her. I hoped we’d tear it down soon, but other projects kept getting in the way. I held my flashlight aloft and swept it back and forth,  checking the darkest corners, but I knew it was unlikely she’d be there.

Sure enough, empty.

Polly was used to the city. It was the only home she’d known. We both struggled to make the country our new home. We were here for Sera. She had a dream and so we packed our things and moved into this fixer-upper house with 10 acres of land to make fertile.

“Maia! Did you find her?” Sera called from the tree line at the front of our property.

“No luck!” I called back. We met back at the house, and she embraced me.

“We’ll find her. But maybe we should just search in the morning.” Sera knew how I felt about Polly. She had come with me into our relationship. In name, she had become ours, but she always remained mine. I felt terrible that I hadn’t given her much attention lately. Our renovations had me falling into bed without seeking her out for a snuggle. It felt like it had been months since her warm body had been curled  on my lap.

Inside, we stripped off wet coats and clothes and climbed into bed. Sleep overtook me and before I knew it, I was staring at a clock that read 5:22am. I shouldn’t be awake this early, but something had woken me. I sat up and paused, my brain slowly coming out of its fog. My ears began to realize what they were hearing. It sounded almost like a baby’s cry, but now it was a meow somewhere in the house. My feet fell into my slippers and I padded down the hall to the spare room. How had we forgotten the spare room closet? I pulled it open and there she was.

I knelt beside her and stroked her fur. Quietly, I padded back to Sera and shook her awake.

“Whatsit? What time..? OH!”

I placed impossibly tiny kitten on her pillow. One of five to be born in the wee hours, making this her home and Polly’s. And mine.

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