I didn't get the chance to choose her because she had already chosen me.
All the other cats were posing and flexing, but not her.
She was sickly and laying crumpled in the back of her cage. A runt.
Her indifference for the audition of "house pet" wreaked of apathy but something made her scrawny arms push -- and she stood up.
Shaking, she glanced my way and then slumped her head.
She made herself known. Nothing more, nothing less.
My friend Nick, who brought me to the adoption center because he knew I was lonely from a recent heartbreak, asked my why I was crying?
I hadn't noticed that my face was wet until he mentioned it.
Something about her made all the others disappear and I brought her home with me.
She was already a year old and her name tag said "Cherie" but I renamed her Coco Pilao.
That first day, she was near death and I had to hydrate Coco's poor frame with syringes of water injected into the back of her fur for weeks.
Slowly but surely she began to recover.
A year later I got Coco a cat to raise and play with; a friend for her to hang out with when I was at work.
Coco's friend's name is Miercoles. Or, "Miracles" -- for what she became.
Coco was tough as nails. When she acknowledged you it felt like being knighted by a queen. When she licked you it felt like a victory.
But she was always there for me when I was up or down. Laying next to me at night, no matter what.
Eight years later I would hear Coco "meow" for the very first time when I brought her to the Catskill mountains.
I've enjoyed the privilege of her company for 15-years. To hear her purr is like hearing a goddess giggle. Her eyes were like smiles.
As corny as this may sound, my relationship with Coco reminds me of that famous scene in the first Superman movie when Lois Lane falls from a helicopter and Superman swoops up and catches her in mid-air and he says "Don't worry. I've got you." And, Lois screams "You've got me? Who's got you!?"
Coco had me.
Coco always had me from the first moment I laid eyes on her beautiful face and soul.
Good bye my little Coco Pilao.
I love you.