Far, far and away in the corner, in a far, far point from the cattery, away from everyone, he sat in silence. Sometimes he sleeps, sometimes he tried to clean, sometimes he was munching air, sometimes, who knows.
For long I can no longer see what was going on inside through those eyes. One is obviously damaged, bulged out bit past its socket. The other grew dim, somewhere in the past.
But if I come to see him, his life came and the light would fill his soul, that I know. He would lift his head high and channel power to rise, if any, though it’s hard to stand since he hold himself only on his thickened claws.
For that, he is surrounded by blankets; so that he can use that claws to support himself when his hind legs fails, to protect his bone and skin when he crashed back down, to lean at ease so that he can concentrate on managing his neck, his jaw, and eat.
The very simplistic way to see him is to go to senior homes, where skinny grandpas or grandma bowed into a hunk as their old spine lost power to prop their once tall and proud self. Sitting alone in wheelchair bundled in various blankets and knitted jacket and scarf, they can barely look anywhere but their own knees.
Day in, day out. Till death free them.
I have had several cats like that. Kittens by the road or in the sewer, or somewhere in the middle of the cemetery at the hills looking over our residential cluster and the valley below. At the grave malnourishment that they endured, they are too far gone.
Still at times, miracle happened, even if it’s half done. Somewhere throughout their sixth month, or eight, they will gradually lost the power of their hind legs.
And then they will gradually lost control of their bladder.
After that, they will gradually lost power on the front leg, then on their neck, and on their jaw, and the world grow dim, and they grow deaf, and then they are vegetables. Their heart keeps beating, healthy and strong, but none of the cats are there.
Usually it will take about six months, nine at most, before I either made the call or they jump to the ship to join the elves in their trip along shiny river across the land of eternity.
With Ghost, it’s been a year. He just grow skinnier and skinnier, but he can still walk, until about two months ago. He can no longer keep up with everyone, though with his sheer will he dragged himself in the stream of one hundred horde of bulky cats charging for their food.
I picked him up, get him my jacket, and let him lay in the living room, and stay there since. In the coldest night, I broke my own rule. Only him can stay in my studio.
He is a hit with the kittens. Maybe because he is the only one who won’t pat them if they are going rough in their play.
Then start the gamble. His nerve defect up their attack, I up my defense. The more he lost power of his legs, the more nerve vitamins and supplements I give. The more weakness his defect blows on him, the more I strengthened him. Strengthened his liver, strengthened his urinary tract, strengthened his digestive, strengthen his immune, strengthen his bone, strengthen his brain.
Eventually, death will win, or death would think so. But when it tug that life out from my Ghost, eventually, it would find out that it was Ghost who wins. Through all the adversities, the weaknesses, the pain, the deterioration, the corroding sense of pride that should never happen to a cat.
When death tug that life out from my Ghost, eventually, it would fly away, but when it looked back, it will see me grinning, smiling, laughing, singing. It will see me waving my victory fingers, though there won’t be trophy.
Then it will dawn on death that it lost not because it is the one who take Ghost away, but because in all those time it gleefully dealt the bad, Ghost had never lost his fight; ever. In all those time it laughed maniacally as it dealt its torture, Ghost had never been beaten.
Then it will dawn on death that all the way, small and insignificant as it could be, I am the shield that protect him, I am the sword with which he fought, I am the light that help Ghost see, I am the staff and iron that prop him when he falls.
But until that day come, let death be mere nightmare. That dark horizon that we know coming, but that we never fear.
Because we know that behind that dark horizon, there is only sun rise.