Every cloud; those rounded patches in her silver lining told a story of her being.

One told the story of her extraordinary fur color, a color one does not normally see in stray cats, or even domestic cats. In fact, I have never found one like her again.

The other one told the story of her extraordinary journey; the twists of fate, the turn of events. It tells the story of her early days, pampered and loved, due to her extraordinary beautiful state.

One near her shoulder blades probably will tell the story of how she grew up, went out, and got herself pregnant.

And the next probably the turn of events, either through box, or sack, or a scruff on the neck, or a sweet promises of treats and food.

At the other side, a cloud will tell how she lives day by day as her tummy grows bigger, as her babies squiggle in hunger. One stripe in contrast of all her elven beauty probably highlight either the idiocy, or sheer ignorance, or the unlikely desperation that whoever thrown her away, choose a quiet, dying building materials mall without food rather than somewhere else more humane.

I would choose a white cloud on her chest to tell my story, my turn of events. In rushing home from my work in a textile factory, I left my house keys in my jacket, and I left my jacket in the locker, and the locker in the factory, three hours drive away.

There are two dark grey lines like a necklace on her neck though. That would tell the story of how instead of driving all the way back to the factory, I went on the other way around. The bus service had ended, I boarded that last bus. I had to go back there by taxi; and back and forth three hours drive would put me back in front of my house near midnight and cost my thin wallet hundreds of thousands of Rupiah.

So I head to that dying, building material mall, to Ace Hardware that I know will stay open until 10 pm. I have three hours. I bought pliers, and wire cutters, and screwdriver.

I saw her sitting by a block intersection on my way home; with her big belly, and eyes looking out. There was no one there but me, and in that brief exchange, I found myself kneeling in front of her.

She did not run away. She did not fear. She looked at me with hope, with prayers, though she expect nothing.

I ran back to Ace Hardware, leaving her. Looking betrayed, looking forlorn, but she expect nothing, and it cut the hurt.

I came back with a spoon and a can of Royal Canin.

When she was done, my bag was empty, and I asked her kindly if she would come. My house is full, my wallet is thin, and she was with babies; but life in a housing complex probably would offer better choices than screw, nails, glue and tiles.

So, comes the next cloud, which is, what about the one on the left?

She stayed home and deliver her babies. Four alive, one did not. And for her striking color I called her Silvervine; often in the tune of a classic Christmas song:
City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air
There’s a feeling
of Christmas
Children laughing
People passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on ev’ry street corner you’ll hear
Silver bells, silver bells
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas day

A befitting description of that day I met her, though it’s not Christmas, and how we both look upon all the cheers and merry from our places in distant dark and in the deadly silence of world. For most, if not all, we do not exist.

It’s just that Silvervine is actually a tree, far away in my homeland. A grape vine like tree called Matatabi. It’s small leaves are green on the top, but silver at the bottom. It’s a fragrant tree, though only cats can smell it; from it’s root, from its trunk, from its leaves. And then they will come and rub themselves on the tree, and sip a little nip off its leaves and fly in the air. Everyone will know where their cats will be, if their neighbor have Matatabi.

Start a cat rescue? Plant Matatabi!
猫にまたたび、御女郎に小判 Neko ni matatabi, ojorou ni koban. Matatabi for the cats, coins for the prostitutes.
I always consider myself a prostitute because I will bent all the way backwards and do anything for money, if it will feed the cats. That sounds cheap and bad, but I live among those who spent their days in the sewer.

Silvervine has two brown stripes along her back, one for the dark day when she was dumped to die in a foodless place, the other is for later, but in the middle of the two brown stripes is one, white, long strip of white.

I’d call that to represent her days after all her kittens weaned and have lives on their own. Silvervine was fixed, and she took the long winding boring road, day to weeks to years in our humble backyard. She blends in perfectly with the concrete.

In the past few months, however, it seems like that the other brown line on her back start to tell its own story. Of how Silvervine start to eat less and shed weight. She is all right, she is OK, and all the many vets we visit said she is fine. She is just getting old, although she is not supposed to be that old; but aging is not on the years, nor the numbers.

In some of those days I will sit with her telling stories and I still repeated with earnest, how shocked I was to find some human who went beyond idiot to ever throw a cat, a pregnant cat in a building material shops. Maybe they think she drinks paint?, chew bolt?

And when I am busy cleaning the fish tank she will watch the whole bunch of fish schooling left and right trying to avoid my siphon. Perhaps that’s what the other white cloud on her leg are for? Telling similar stories of her dark days, or moments that heaven drop her something to live by, enough until we meet each other.

At the end of that brown line will be her tail, though. The end of everything, the rear of the journey.

Just like the way Silvervine enters my life by shock, she left the grand way in the middle of a lightning storm that lasted the whole night.

She blasted off to heaven with all the silver linings that set the night sky bright as day and beaten the morning star and the red and Jupiter.

And then left me, who carry her in my arm, into the house and onto my bed, so we both can watch the world goes cheer and merry, from my dark place and forgotten world. For all we do not exist. For heaven she does now, and for me whom she left behind, another tomorrow.

I will hear the snow crunch, See the kids bunch, This is Santa’s big scene,
And above all this bustle, I’ll hear :
Silver bells, silver bells
It’s Christmas time in the city,
Ring-a-ling, hear them ring,
Soon it will be Christmas day.

from my distant dark place, where no light in sight, in the silence of my world cast aside. At least for one silver star up above, I do exist.

~ Josie


“Silver Bells” is a popular Christmas song, composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. First performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the motion picture The Lemon Drop Kid, filmed in July–August 1950 and released in March 1951


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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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