GUILLERMA, as we decided to call her, accosted us in the street on the way to the Banyes Arabes in Palma. All silky black, except a tip of white on the end of her tail, she had a big, sloppy notch out of her ear—fixed, in theory, no kittens to feed. She dashed across the shadowed alley to say ‘Hello!’, and L gave her a good rub and tickle, fast friends. I’m allergic so I just beamed, and then on we went to the baths.

The Arabic Baths are based on even earlier Roman baths we learned from the printed placards. The garden, though not big, is fragrant and lush with palms and bougainvillea, allium, oleander, pots of geraniums, ferns, ivies and succulents. There is an old well, capped, and an outdoor kitchen under a loggia with Mallorcan pottery and tiles. Before we could go into the baths (crumbling, mostly, but still standing, barely,) up pops Guillerma. She had followed us, and of course we stopped to say ‘Hello again’ but I was soon poking around the garden and was only recalled by L’s cry of horror.

“Kitty! Stop!” From behind a pot, the cat had pounced on a baby bird scratching in the dust, now fluttering and stunned as Guillerma batted at it, now in her mouth - a sparrow, the usual brown, its companion fled. L grabbed the cat, who let go of the bird, who flopped and flitted spasmodically into a corner. “Hold her!” I held on to a frantic Guillerma, and L tried to get to the bird, but couldn’t reach. “Oh well.” I let the cat go, and realized, now covered with dander and fur, I would soon be an itchy mess and dashed off to the restroom to wash my hands.

L met me on the way back out, quite solemn. “She got the bird again—I grabbed her and she let it go, so I picked it up, and it died in my hands.” Apparently it peeped weakly for just a moment before lying still.

“What did you do with it?”

“Well, it was dead.”

“And so…?”

“I gave it back to Guillerma.”

We watched the cat gobble up the entirety of the baby bird in a matter of two minutes, just a single tiny feather remaining to mark the spot, which I quickly put in my wallet just in case I run across a potions recipe calling for the feather of a baby bird retrieved within moments of its death. A German tried to kick Guillerma, and L yelled at him in Spanish.

We speculated the bird died of a heart attack because an enormous giant even bigger than the cat picked it up—hard to say.

Back at the hotel, the vegan concierge, the sweet one who loved us all the more when we expressed concerns over the carriage horses standing all day in the hot sun of the plazas, listened to our tale, riveted.

“Oh! Amor,” she moaned as we described the death of the baby bird in the garden of the Arabic Baths. “Oh, amor. Amor.” I showed her the feather I kept. “Amor. But how do you feel?” she asked us.

“Sad,” we said, and she was thrilled by our sympathy.

<º)))))><{}><(((((º>