Next In Life

Though life goes on at The Whiskers’ Syndicate, it’s not quite the same. There was that blank spot from Donna, and then there’s another spot from Hero, both spots quite close.

If anyone express it the best, perhaps, it’s Cheza. Since she went home with us, Donna had been her surrogate mother; the figure that is always there. For a while she settled down to a new home, a new family, learning a new love, moving on a new life.

Just because her smallness wasn’t quite ready for another burden, Hero was there when Donna departed. She is not really a mother figure, but a sibling she can roll with, sleep with, play with, eat with. Someone she would expect to wake up to, someone she would rush to see after wandering around the house and got back “home” to the small bed that was practically her world.

When Hero never came home, she sat there, on the blank spot, waiting. And waiting, and asking and waiting, and looking around.

I feel her. I feel the same.

It takes a little bit of more effort to keep the balance when a part of you were missing. Such as, focusing where you are walking to, watching where you are going, knowing what you eat, and where did the last time you put down your house keys. Even if you automatically hang it by the door you might end up put it somewhere completely different, for example, in the fridge.

To prevent myself becoming a roadkill because I wasn’t paying attention when I cross the road, or bumped into a moving car because I strayed too far to the center of the street, I took motorbike taxi. So it’s not about seven kilos of Tuna getting heavy.

A guy next in line came over and asked me where I want to go; the other was watching my legs. I was wearing knee length bermuda shorts but I am sure it wasn’t because I look sexy.

I ignore some tickling pricks on my ankles because I am sure it’s just me.

When he was about to start his motorcycle, he swiped below her vehicle with his leg. “Huss! Huss!”

What did he try to shoo? Dust?

And then he pointed at my foot, and a small child, five or six years old, came over and swiped a tiny cat, busy using my ankles as scratching board.

Another child swiped another kitten away from the other side of the wheel.

“Oh, kitty” My face must have been changed a lot, because everyone seemed to notice.

“You like cat?” driver asked, “We have three here, our kids’ been trying to take care of them because they keep crying”

“Don’t they have mother? It seemed like they are well cared for” I doubted.

“They had, mom gone two days ago and they’re crying for food. We bought fish and had the kids feed them”

“They are doing a good job” I smiled

“But they are only here because it’s Sunday, and their moms’re at work and we too have to drive. When we’re off, they are going with us and the cats’ can’t come”

“They can’t stay in the taxi pool forever”, he said, “At least they can’t stay at that age”

While he was talking, more kids are joining the others, so we have a bunch of spectators.

“All right” I think, some part of my autopilot doesn’t need re-programming.

One girl, the eldest among the crowd, stepped forward and hand the kitten over. She looked just like Jim Bridges, our blind cat.

I took the crying kitten and as soon as I carry her in my arms, she fell silent. A boy came forward and hand over his kitten. It looks just like a tiny version of our Blossom.

“Where’s the other one? Kitten is going home!” the driver shouted. He mounted his bike when we had a little handing over ceremony.

The youngest of the crowd came squeezing through the spectators and handed over a yellow tuxedo.

When I turned around another driver, next in line, said “What about me? are you going to get me home with you?”

There’s a humor with sexual indecency innuendo.

I looked at him with three furballs cuddling between my breasts, and replied “Come on, just as long as you sleep in a small cage, no clothing, food twice a day, raw chicken. No bath, you lick yourself clean, and you defecate in a box of sand”

The rest of the pool laughed out loud. Children don’t understand so they just looked on.

There’s a humor with factual innuendo.

I mounted the motorbike, and suddenly one of the kids shed tears.

“Bye meng”, he waved his little hands.
Meng is how locals traditionally called cat, so instead of “kitty kitty kitty” they called “meng meng meng” and cats usually come.

The girl waved her hands too “Bye meng”

And then the whole chorus “Bye…. bye meng, bye mam… be good meng….”

I went in a drunkard and left a celebrity.

But I am happy.

Both the kittens and the children are the next in line toward the future. They are the children of small people. They are the next in life that carries both the blessing and the curse of the world, whichever they grow toward.

They are gone only for few days, but Donna and Hero had delivered the next in life into my hand.

Still I am happier for the kids. If once in a while they can show compassion toward the unfortunate, then the next (everything) in life is probably in a good hand.

~ Josie


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Josie And The Whiskers' Syndicate

The first and only cat refuge in Bandung (West Java - Indonesia) a capital breeder of a nation without animal welfare law. We care for Bandung's unwanted animals, operate a TNR as much as our budget allows, and continue to educate people about compassion to animals

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