It was the third time I came back to the colony the other day, for no other reasons than the silent urge in my heart to just keep coming back.

I was in the area anyway, it was only ten minutes bike drive from the supermarket to the park.

I didn’t find Fuuta the first time I was there. It was too early for my schedule, but I found two other cats that I feed on the curb.

There was one and a half hour gap between my appointments then. I can go home, but I will have to jump back out in fifteen minutes after I got home, not to mention traffic jam, so I’d better just wait somewhere.

So I went back to the park and found the stray dogs who ran laps every night around the park. They might be barking, but they don’t disturb the cats and the cats there got used to them. It’s busier and busier down the road around that place as holiday is running near (seriously, the last time I checked the date was December 3rd and now Christmas is around the weekend and I have no idea where I have been). Of course the dogs enjoy the Whiskas. The kind of them won’t care as long as they eat.

And I also found two cats who were dumped in nearby pet park, shivering as they try to claw what they might find in the rotting garbage bin that has just soaked by the rain.

Three plates, three pouches each, and extra can of tuna. It’s too early for Christmas feast, but by Christmas it might be too late for their soul.

And then, when I was about to go home at ten late night, there was this gentle nudge in me to go to the park once again, although at the same time I also knew I won’t find Fuuta there. Not that night.

I turned the faster route to get home, then pull my cellphone out to hail my ride home, but it’s just keep calling.

So I listen.

I walked to the park through all the blinks and glitters of the consumerist part of the holiday, dimmer and dimmer as I made my turn closer to the park, and as my hunch whispers, no Fuuta in the restaurant, and Fergus must still be travelling. Fergus seems to enjoy long journeys lately, though he always come back to the restaurant he called home all his life.

There was no cat, and there were no dogs. The road is starting to be empty, though it’s well lit on the road, from the row of guest houses and small diners along the other side.

I sat on that bench at the edge of the park. Our mayor designed it so that it has some lighting from small solar cells, but all the little lamps were stolen or broken. Still one bench sat at the breaking of the trees so the moon lit over it, and I love it there because on my blue days it reminds me that no matter how hard life can be, a little ray of blessings will always shine on me, somehow. On brighter days, sitting there reminds me of Mr. Bean.

Somehow my ride got delayed, and between the zooming sound of cars passing by, I can hear a little cry. Slower then faster, more silent, then louder.

I left my bench and walk as slowly as I can, because the wind is everywhere and voices and sounds were carried to every direction. First toward the southeast, then to the east, and the east and the east.

That little cry stopped when I stand by the gate of a small diner, at the other end of the road where the colony lives.

I took my deep breath, and sighed. Fate is playing tricks on me again, or so it seems.

But two steps as I walked away, the cry started. I just can’t find where exactly it came from, but it stops every single time I stand by that gate.

And down under a makeshift bench by the gate was a box, that I thought, as I usually find, contains garbage.

I went away two steps back, and the cry started and it came from there.

Inside the box was a single, tiny, baby cat. Just opened its eye, and calling for the mother it should have seen.

Its voice start to croak, and it shivers and trembles. It started to be tired, it was already cold.

My hands are full, my wallet is empty. I have to scrape day by day so everyone can have a meal and every other day or so, all ninety of us can only share one meal a day, so that what we have spans enough to last through the holiday, where everything is merry and bright, with family, laughter, friends around the table, around feasts gilded with gold to serve on silver platter.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

“No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused”

Sure, there was that quote too, one very different from all the carols and stories of heart warming scene.

There were young men, about five, who found the box at the same time as I am, but they looked inside as I pulled it out from under the bench, and they all understand that the kitten had just opened its eye, and shouldn’t be alone all that early in the late night.

But upon the end of their marvels and pity, they turn away, shaking their heads, put their helmet and ride on.

I sat there alone, with a crying baby on my lap. I gave the baby kisses, but I left it alone afterwards, still crying.

In my bag.

For one night it stays in a small box lined with soft fabric, and it stays quiet curling like little nautilus in the sea of blue as I turned off the light, with a tray filled with syringe and a small cup of kitty milk.

For one day after, then, it stays in my studio as I went about my day hosting people who come and go. An expert electrician, who is also a contractor, a carpenter, and staff from electrical company to renew the contract, after they saw that I am able to pay the bills again; after missing the deadlines not so long ago in the past.

All of them asked how many cats do I have, some asked how much I spend for the cats’ food, and one actually try to calculate the cats’ cost based on what he knows.

All of them then quote me extravagant prices thinking that I must be very rich to be able to keep so many cats, all with luxurious fur and twinkling eyes, and skipping merrily from shelf to shelf. $2,000 for laundry deck that they said will be made with Hermes iron (it’s the big solid iron used for crowbars), ceramic tile and all the best. $ 1,000 for a kitchenette that is basically a long table.

All between my chagrin and destitute I kept the baby next by me, who cried if my heartbeat must have changed when I swing into destitute and disappointment, and quiet when I finally come to term and realize that, once yet again, I will have to do everything myself.

Near the evening when I have to come back to the colony, I walked gingerly to the cage where Malaya kept her only baby, open the door, and put the baby on my hand.

It cried as it left my bosom and the win blow his back.

Malaya looked at it, and then looked at me. She was confused. She looked into her basket and found her baby.

But the one on my hand cried.

“It’s not your baby, Malaya, but maybe there is space in your heart though it won’t take any part of the one you lost”

Malaya sniffed at the baby again, and then made a round on her basket.

I put the baby down, and let it cry. Then I put Malaya’s baby next to it, and it cuddled to each other.

Malaya made another round, looked at me, and then curl herself around the two babies.

The one that’s hers come to snuggle immediately, the other stopped crying, rub its cheek, and come to embrace her new fate.

I think Dickens is right. It is good to be children [sometimes], and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.

Malaya looked at me again, and I looked at her.

I can hear it as she knead the air atop the two kittens.

“Well, he is family”

I closed her cage back and leave her in her new found happiness, as I too need to knead mine.

There is no telling that there will be enough bread for everyone too, today, or tomorrow, but my own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for me for a start.

~ Josie


Christine Alice Vincent once asked me about Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” I told her I know, but I haven’t found any story to adapt to that one.
I think her Lady listened to her wish, because this post is adapted from, and use part of “A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas”, commonly known as A Christmas Carol, is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in London by Chapman & Hall in 1843.

Quotes used:

“No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused”

“It is good to be children [sometimes], and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself”

“Well, he is family”

“His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him”


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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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