This Is Not One Of Those Lists That Tell You If You’ve Met Your Soulmate…I hate those lists.

We all know what I’m talking about…those articles that say, “7 Signs That You Met The One You’re Going To Marry,” or “15 Reasons Why You Should Marry Your Best Friend”. I personally hate those lists because they say things like, “He makes you laugh.” That’s a not a good reason to marry someone. I could name a hundred people that make me laugh, but that doesn’t mean I will spend the rest of my life with them. I think they should be clear and insightful moments that are memorable and make you think.

My father died a year ago on Wednesday. To top it off, today would have been his 51st birthday.

Sam and I left for San Diego Friday night to see a friend who was passing through on his way to San Francisco. We put out some food and water for Mumford, rubbed his chin, and were on our way. We came back yesterday around noon, and as soon as I saw the busted screen window wide open in our bedroom, I knew he was gone. I checked under the bed, in my drawer of pants where he likes to sleep, under the couches, in my desk, everywhere. He was nowhere to be found.

I started to panic. Mumford has never stepped foot outside before. I wasn’t sure if he was going to be an idiot and run out into the busy street, or crawl into a cave and not come out all day, making it impossible to find him. Sam always joked around saying how much he hates cats, that Mumford’s a pain, yadda yadda. But as soon as I told him that he escaped, Sam dropped everything and began searching the streets for him. Every hour or so, he would go for another walk to find him. We printed out posters together, taping them all around the streets in a 3 block radius. I could see that he was starting to worry too.

We first brought Mumford home just a couple of weeks after my father died. He was kind of a soothing remedy for me. He was a distraction, a snuggle buddy when I needed him, and our “feel good” cat. I think Sam knew this, which was why he was so intent on finding him.

Almost 8 hours after we realized he was gone, Sam came rushing down from the roof, beer in hand, threw off his shoes, and said “I saw him!” and then he ran out the door again. I tried to not get my hopes up too much considering we now had to catch him before he ran away again. I quietly tip toed outside and into the alleyway where I saw Sam with his phone flashing a light over a fence. He said he needed my voice for Mumford to hear because there was a better chance he would respond to it.

We saw Mumford lounging in our neighbor’s backyard. I shined the light on him while balancing on a stool, trying to get Mumford’s attention while Sam attempted to break into their backyard. Mumford rolled around in the grass and dirt, looking right into the light as if he was taunting me, or saying “why don’t we have this yard? I like this yard.” Sam quietly opened the tall wooden fence into the backyard and grabbed Mumford who started to cry. We finally brought him back home where he belonged.

Things are starting to get back to normal again, and I fooled around with Mumford on the kitchen floor playing with his belly and tail. I thanked Sam to the heavens and back and he said, “I know this is a tough week for you. I didn’t want you to be upset anymore than you already are.”

This is what humans should be following. Not the whole, “He cooks dinner for you,” or “He likes what you like”, or “He lets you control the remote.” Those are all ridiculous signs to look for in a person.

If you can find someone who senses your emotions, reacts to it, and then does what they can to fix it, than you’re on the right track. I wouldn’t know what it’s like to date today, and I would never do it again. But if you read those lists religiously, you’re trying too hard. You’ll know when you know. Don’t find reasons to lie to yourself.

A big happy birthday to my dad today!


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