THE ENTERTAINER

Waiting for the rain to stop, I stood at the bottom of that stairways. No matter how many warning sign put at the other end of it, people slipped and roll down in various styles. Cheers and cries from above.

I go to that place and tread on that stairs all the time, three or four times a day, every day. To go to work, get supplies, buy some food, running away from the world and sneak into wonderland licking ice cream spoon like a toddler. I got used to give way to everybody else who doesn’t want to wait and go down like an elderly centurian holding on to the rail.

But they roll to the ground seeking speed, and I still have my ice cream cone on my hand, peering at them licking my guilty pleasure, with a big bag full of Whiskas pouches, buy five get one free, hanging on the other arm.

This time, there are a discreet, men-lovers not yet accepted here, but live on anyway. One giving the shopping bag to the other, pulled out a bunch of keys and ran off under the rain.

At the other side, a young girl and her mother, and her grandma. My generation, sort of. Grandma has colonial education (down to her hairstyle), Mama is like my mom with mish mash of of Chinese, colonial and Indonesian culture, and the kid a milennial. Slender, porcelain white skin, legs so smooth a fly will slip landing there, and gangnam style top down to toe.

Some moment I can see her peeking over to my other side, where the young handsome man with shopping bag is waiting. Some other moment it’s the other guy peeking to the other side, but for different love.

At one time, the girl peeked behind me, and after that first moment, she forgot about the handsome guy at the direction of four o’clock. She peeked there several times, and then I start to get tickles on my leg.

I was still busy with my ice cream, while wondering if I can ever be as svelte as her.

And my leg still tickles, and she was still peeking.

At one time, the guy start peeking too, but just once in a while.

As I pushed the pinnacle of the cone into my mouth, I reached down my bag for tissue.

A yellow kitten was pole dancing right behind me. Sometimes, his tail will sweep my ankles and that’s how I get the tickles.

Three people watch the little kitten, only one grin from ear to ear. You know it’s me.

I squatted down, open a pouch, and he immediately jumped onto it like lion. Growling as he ate.

One more pouch, and then two more, and the kitten is still hungry.

By then the lover came around with a small white car, and one handsome sight went away. The girl keep peeking, her face tinged with envy. Maybe she does not love cats as much as I do, but a yearning for a pet or two.

The rain stopped.

I can choose to continue to the colony, although it’s three hours late, or I can go straight home and for once be a normal girl instead of Cinderella running for her life before her glass shoes falling apart.

But what about him? He followed me with his eyes, disappointed and forlorn, as he watched me walked away. He sat there quietly, like a lover watching the other half of his soul jumped on the train and got carried away.

I turned my back. If he lives there, he would be there when I come for work the next day; and morning is not too far away.

I hailed a ride, but like the girl who keeps peeking, I turned my head, one more time, one last time.

He is still there, watching my back. Some people brush him, unintentionally, as they walk, and he had to step back, but he keeps looking, wondering.

And came my ride. I stepped forward to the driver making sure it’s the correct license. The man gave me a helmet, and pointed to my foot.

“Is the cat with you?”

I looked down and find the kitten, pole dancing at the seam of my jeans.

“Can you wait for a few minutes?” I asked the driver.

He was too busy watching a kitten pole dancing.

Like always, I transfer the content of one bag to the other. I picked the kitten and put him inside the empty one.

He still curled on his back, inside my tote. And he curled inside like he never known what warmth is.

All the way to the colony, all the way back home.

Is he Julia’s brother? They are of same age. Would they still remember each other? Maybe, I think so when Julia jumped down and sniffs him, I don’t think so anymore when they went part ways and Julia climbed to the top of kitchen cabinet, while he curled up on a shredded box of a new shelves I bought on discount for the cats.

In the next morning when I look for him for dewormer, I found him playing, rolling around the box playing with shreds. In the afternoon when I look for him and see if he is getting along well, I found him alone, in the other side of the room, but playing with a ball.

In the evening after I came home from the colony, he is already in the kitchen. He’d pick a kibble with his nail (it has hole in the middle like donut) drop it to the floor, and play with it while the others are watching.

And when he plays he reminds me of Julia.

The next morning, I called out in front of my bedroom door.

“Julius”

He came.

In the afternoon I stand with a plate of wet food and call “Julius”

He came.

My friend told me “Julian is better”

Maybe. But I choose Julius over Julian in tribute to my other friend Susan M. Edwards.

And when I come again in the evening, I can find him pole dancing around the foot of a table, with others looking at him, amused.

He was taken away for neutering without basket, and he was returned to me fixed sleeping in my vet’s cradle.

“What a character” my vet said. “He is the sweetest guy in all the world I ever get into”

She is right.

~ Josie

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