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These have been a very sad couple of days for me. The day before yesterday, I learned that my beloved cat Saffron had passed away. As I write this in Aguas Calientes, Peru, enormous, conical, jungle covered mountains loom outside the window. Deep in a narrow gorge, I´m surrounded — the mountains are less than a football field away on all sides. And I feel trapped, like I want to leap over the mountains and run back to NYC. I can´t really believe he´s gone. Saffron was my faithful companion for thirteen years. I adopted him in Corvallis, Oregon; he climbed into right my coat at the animal shelter. Saffron accompanied me to Detroit, for graduate school; to Amsterdam, for a stint at an advertising agency, and finally to New York, where we´d live for eight years. We shared a Soho apartment the size of a walk-in closet, and a polluted Nolita apartment, before moving to a comfortable Brooklyn brownstone. He made every apartment feel like home.

A few of the things I will miss most are:

his freckled nose

his wacky personality and dramatic facial expressions

the way, after one little crinkle of the wrapper, he´d know I was opening Gjetost (sweet Danish goat cheese), run into the kitchen for some

his funny loose skin (hence the nickname, ¨Flapper¨) and the way it would hang over the top of my monitor as he slept up there

his goodnight and good morning cuddle

the way he´d take a drink by putting his head under the bathroom faucet, and letting water drip down his head and into his mouth

his squeaky meow and kittenish behavior

the way he loved to chase the laser pointer

his brilliant orange fur that camouflaged him on hardwood floors

his obsessive grooming

the way he´d chatter at the birds

the way he´d greet me after work

This has been a truly wonderful eight months of traveling with Jason. And while I´m very excited to come home, see my family, and start our life together, there will be something missing. While it has been incredibly painful to lose him after I haven´t seen him in ten months, I am comforted by a few things. Eva, who cared for him while I was away, has been incredible. She spoiled him so much, we often joked that he must be having another caipharina after his daily massage. Eva is grieving too, and I´m grateful Saffron received the best care possible with her. I know he enjoyed staying with her, and having a chance to play with her cat Shadow. He had some very good times with them this year. It´s also a relief that Saffron didn´t suffer, he probably died of natural causes. While I´m on the subject, I should also say thank you to my friend Jill, who took good care of Saffron years ago, during part of my time in Detroit. I´m grateful to have had so many wonderful years with Saffron, and for the way he made my New York existence so much more fun. He is missed.