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“Destiny, look!” I threw a ball of black socks in our orange tabby cat’s direction. He examined the socks quizzically for a moment, until their scent hit his nostrils. Then the corners of his mouth turned upward and his expression revealed great happiness. He buried his nose in the socks before batting them around and around the kitchen.

Earlier that afternoon, at the skilled nursing facility, my beloved had changed into a new pair of socks, and I'd had an idea. “Let me take the old socks home for Destiny,” I said. By that time, my beloved had been away from home for over a week, having nearly lost his life to heatstroke. On a 109-degree Southwestern summer day, my beloved had been alone on the street, running an errand, when he became disoriented. He'd fallen unconscious to the sidewalk.

As he moved toward recovery, I brought my beloved a photo of Destiny and together we remembered his arrival in our lives several summers before. Soon after we had moved to the Southwest, an orange tabby had wandered into our backyard, seeking shade amid the succulents. He seemed friendly, and we opened our back door to him. The tabby took up residence immediately, and the vet’s exam revealed that he had no microchip. When it came time to name our new companion, my beloved said, “This is our Destiny.”

Destiny was unlike any other cat we had ever known. He slept with us every night and seemed more like a playful puppy than a shy kitten. His presence brightened our lives, and we watched with great delight as Destiny explored and claimed his new territory.

Then came the summer that catastrophe struck. My beloved--and Destiny’s beloved companion--did not come home. We keenly felt his absence, and brooded and became anxious by turns, until at last I learned that a homecoming was on the horizon. But how could I convey this news to Destiny? It was then that I thought of the socks.

Imagine our joy a few days later, as our greatest wish came true. Ready to regain strength, our dear companion walked through the door, surrounded with love and nurtured by Destiny.

Susan Naomi Bernstein
Astoria, New York