“Did you just lost from a table?”, my mother would ask my younger self when I lost my temper or was throwing things in meltdown if I failed to get something fixed the way I want it.

“A table is inanimate object. You are human being with brain, and you lost to a table?”

That question stays with me until today. Every time I got stuck, I ask myself that question, and not only when I am dealing with something that broke, also when I am dealing with animals that broke, and lately, humans that broke.

That question brought me to places I have never been before, knocking on doors I have never found before, learning things I have never known before, and expand my boundaries like never before.

That question pushed me one level higher than the two builders, especially the senior one, who has the skill of an architect, the field knowledge of civil engineer, the working speed of concrete mill, but the attitude similar to the guy in the white house.

So when he again fix one thing and then “accidentally” broke another, in his attempt to work longer than the actual contract (and get extra pay) and treat me like a second to none (literally: next to none), I tug him back to earth and nail him to the ground, and have him think whether he wants to be paid or not, since the one who paid him is going to be a woman, next to none (contextually: one of a kind).

Then he start to behave like a decent human being.

By that time my bathroom have already been out of order for four days. My hair was all sticky, my body start to smell, I am itching like a monkey. I looked like a bum, and although my next door neighbor, whose bathroom leaks into my kitchen, invite me to use her bathroom anytime, I don’t feel like going in and out of her bathroom when her husband is around. It’s my eastern thing.

So I booked myself a budget hotel; an old establishment within walking distance from the colony. I checked in when the builders went out for lunch, and come back there after they go home and I finished cleaning the cattery. Just for one night, I have warm water to clean myself, scrape half inches of sebum off my face, cement and paint from my hair and a clean sheet and bed to sleep on.

Then, I went for a walk with a ton of Whiskas pouches to celebrate with all stray cats I meet along the way to the park and the colony.

Alas, we had windstorm. Windstorm that carries rain, dry leaves, PVC tile and asbestos roof. A tree fell just outside of the restaurant where the colony is, and Fergus was running like I am the last door to salvation when I clap to call him.

Watching him enjoying his dinner lifted the dread that sunk my heart down. Many strays will lose their home and maybe more in the crazy wind.

The cry that pierce the night sky seemed to be the answer. The cry that sheared the deadly wind for one second and carry fear, sadness, desperation, and one tiny hope that flew the last.

I ran to the park. That was the kitten who was stranded in the other restaurant two days ago. He was the same age as Bingbing. He didn’t run away when I slowly closed in.

He froze. Half of it from fear, and half other from cold.

I put down my Whiskas bag as slowly as possible, and open one pouch; let the wind carry its smell to him, a message of peace.

I poured it down and the starving part of him defrosted him enough to take two steps forward and eat.

Not sure if I am going to make it, but instead of snatching him, I stroke him as gently as I can, while he ate. At first he squirms, but on third stroke, not anymore.

I poured down the content of my bag, and wrap him up in my rain coat. He can’t move.

And then, the second cry.

I recognize that last one. It’s a brown dilute tabby, and he is speeding like a bullet. I mean it. This kitten is fast.

For two hours I followed him as fast as I could with one cat and the whole bag of Whiskas on my back, but at long last, he went into a gated house and won’t go out, all while he keeps crying.

My heart broke.

And it broke to dust when the other kitten start to stir and I have to leave him as the rain is getting harder and the wind is getting harsher. At least he has plenty of space to hide and stay out of the rain in that house.

I left one pouch on the left side of the gate and one other on the right. I left one pouch opened but not poured down (so it won’t be washed away) where the kitten jumped in. I opened another on the spot where I saw him yesterday.

Then I ran back to the hotel because it’s impossible to get a ride back home. My half dead laptop is still in the hotel. It’s 10:30 pm and the workers will start at 7 in the morning. Timing is awkward.

I got back to the hotel and straight to my room, a secluded little room in a pavillion facing a lush garden, but I won’t have time to enjoy it. I dried myself up and intended to unload the kitty from my bag, but it’s sleeping.

I placed a last order out of breakfast menu and asked the food to be delivered, so I can eat it in the morning because I will be checking out by the time their breakfast is served.

Turning the lights out, I stretched on the bed, thinking and praying for those at home, for the kitten I failed to save, and for everyone under the whirling wind and pouring rain.

At two am, I felt something creeping on my bed, but I thought it was me. I got weird dreams or nightmares when I am too tired.

Half asleep, I hoped it was not a cockroach, but whatever creeping next to me was a lot more heavier than even the largest cockroach, and it feels very familiar.

And then that touch; the touch of a little paw on the tip of my finger.

Once, and silence. Half an hour, and then another.

I stirred and turned around, I set my camera recording; for criminal evidence, but what I got was completely the opposite.

And it’s totally worth crawling on wet muddy park under nasty wind storm and hunting in the rain.

~ 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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