Whenever I come by to greet our man, in that alley by the post station, I know I am being watched. The way the chap now greet me with small trots, the way I walked to the side and a little bit hidden, the way I squatted by the road, pulled out a paper plate and two pouches.
I cannot see him, not all that clearly, but he can see me. Still even under that yellow lamp that alter true colors, we get to know each other, a little bit better every time. I’d peek on him over my shoulder, he watch me from far away across the street, like a sniper.
He is old. A little bit ruffled, a little bit dirty, but he knows his way around. He was born on that street, he grew up on that street, he spend day and night, months, years, along that white and black rim between the open sewer line and the road where other world pass by, going round without him.
Under those yellow bulb, the only one that light our steps as the sun sets and die, I know he should be white; with gray brown splotches on his back. I know so because safe at my home, supported and pampered, Isaac Newton lives his life in almost alternate universe.
Maybe if he stays at home too, he would be as white, as clean, as heavy; but life has it differently.
That night, and the night before, just like today, both our worlds battered by the wind and the rain. It’s just that, in my world, people close their window and shut their door and protect their loves one at the inside, in his world, life goes on. He can run to some porch to cover away from the pouring rain, he can squeeze himself under some table, or against some wall so that nasty wind won’t lift him up and fly him away, but there won’t be a door to knock, or a window to sit on in the warmth, as people on the other side look out, lost in their own thought.
I have just been home, maybe about one hour past, after that last visit to the vet to fend for Honey’s Mama’s life. It’s eight. Everyone had dinner, everyone had each other. Cats at home should have me, but I have orders to fulfill, or there’s no refill for their bowls in days to be.
So there I am, bracing the cold, like him, with thin rain jacket, like him and his short, graying fur. Both on the same space under that yellow dim light.
He thought, he’d pass me from behind. Lifting one of his front leg, limping away.
I thought; maybe.
I greet him first. as slowly, as gently as I could.
He saw me, straight in the eye. On which moment I can see the hell, the war, the silence, the loneliness, the harshness of his universe through that round, old, yet tough eyes.
“You see me. I am with food. Never anything else. Would you like some?”
Should I care if people pass and think I am crazy talking to a different creature from alternative universe?
I bent my knee; bit by bit. He was alarmed, but he is tough enough to stay, or too startled to move. But those eyes told me I have hope.
Two plastic bags down on the road. Reaching into my tote I pull out familiar things he always watched me send the other cat down that alley.
This time, it’s his turn; and his alone.
I push the plate a bit further, toward him, toward his long reaching puff and fall of his nose.
He lifted his front paw a little and forward, looking at me, one more time, one last time.
Then, he ate.
It’s my turn watching him. Wondering if he had enough, because mouse and rats will be elsewhere under the constant nasty rain.
I thought I’d try one more time.
I opened another pouch and extend my hand. That time, he just sat, still lifting his leg. He watched me pour it down. Like a professional intelligence agent, he made sure I didn’t make any stupid move.
Then he ate, again.
I saw the blinding fog light of the last bus coming. I picked my two bags up and wave my way into that shuttle, that transport me back to my own world, leaving him in his own.
Maybe tomorrow we’ll get to know each other more. When he watch me feeding the other guy at the end of that alley.
And then, under that yellow dim light, I’d come to him. We can always stop by to have a little dinner.