There are looks of wonder in their eyes, when I rise before dawn, but not drown myself back when I see the rain. The first was to release my head, from the bits of pain as Cali turned his barrel body a little bit away from the wind. He loves to sleep on my head, but it’s not my head he is after. He loves my hair. He wants to sleep on it, he wants to use it as his blanket, though unfortunate it might be, I never grow my hair long enough for him to enjoy. So if only just his paw, he’d gather all the strands he can, and put his feet on it. He will never understand why sometimes I gave him the worse stink eyes, though he understands it hurts when I tried to pull his fur from his belly.
On my feet, Kaka curls in peace. He had won the race to slip into my room when I walked stiffly out for the bathroom. For days they have to race that way because only one would manage to slip in, as I sort through my documents and books, all scumbled and scattered after the shelves had fallen.
I would leave them to their dream this morning, though. I have to be done by seven.
Today will start the renovation for our kitchen. The damaged sink that had long rotted with rust and plagued me with worry. The leaking bathroom wall from the house next door, that dampens the kitchen cabinet and covers all the pots and pans with greenish specks and white shreds of fungus; that decayed all the food and put mold on every bread, and all the toast, not to mention soup, butter, rice. Can you see the wet spot on the white wall? No? Scroll further, it shows better when all those water show itself as it’s being chemically treated.
I am not yet quite sure that I will get all the fund I need, although the USD 2,000 matching challenge keeps creeping forward, slowly and sure, but the longer I wait, the more damage will be done, and both the sink and wall will be a breeding haven for bacteria and viruses, and soon, we will have outbreak every day.
But I have this faith. This faith that I am not alone. The faith that won’t let me fall; the knowing that what I do is for the best of all. It is unfair for everyone to shed tears and empty their purse with me, in fighting for and losing all the souls that died of sickness, when I keep from them a hive full of sickness lurking in my home.
I read Kahlil Gibran; about working with love “When love beckons to you follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth…”
But Kahlil Gibran is not my favorite. He only said that love is a double edge sword, the forewarning that the road ahead, taken in the dark, should not be easy.
Read Rumi, my lovely old man from the Ottoman. “People want you to be happy. Don’t keep serving them your pain!”
And like a sage to his young king, on the balcony of his castle, when he doubted to go to war that swarms like ants from the horizon:
“Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!
Why do you stay in prison
When the door is so wide open?”
So when a regular driver told me about the man who helped him build his house, I took my deep breath and I remember all of you, every single one who had given, big or small, and how much we all hope for better lives for all these cats, and then I said yes.
In early Monday the man came, with an old man and his two coarse hands, and he introduce himself, and the third one as his brother.
They carry nothing but a sack, like elves lurking in the dark near Christmas. And then from all its depth they pull out their world. Hammer, scraper, tongs.
And the sink went away, and the decayed cabinets went away, and the massacre of the mold started.
They don’t like the cats, the cats don’t like them too much, but they tolerate each other in respect of the middle woman: me.
To the old men I said: please bear with me. They have nothing else but my love, and those who gave me the opportunity and buy me the chance to pay you.
To the cats I said: please bear with them. Otherwise you will have damp and cold and mold and broken food. Be merciful because I only have two hands, and both my hands are yours; to feed you, to heal you, to love you. I will guarantee you no harm, and I have never broken my promise before. Stay and watch them, but keep your mischief for the day when we no longer have to worry that the wooden cupboard will kill whoever it falls upon.
And to you, my friend, I say: This is the chance in life that you have opened for us; this is all the love that you have been sharing with us, this is the prayers that you have petitioned our God all day and all night. I have put all my cards on the table, and all of those are for the cats, and none be mine. Large and deep is my hope, that you would share your blessing also, so that the project that we all start, can come to fruition.