Sunset in the puddle distorted, it wrinkled, speckled, and when all the scrambled little ripples reach its end, the image is gone.

I have no time to look back. All the blues and all the reds, the wondrous hues and the cool breeze, the little drops of water that remains from the storm forms a rainbow behind me, as if offering a moment to celebrate the change of the year.

But like me, people have no time to look back, for all the different reasons. Instead of a gentle, beautiful rainbow, they choose the blast and fierceness of fire.

And their fire was my reason to keep going. When the day disappears into dusk, I will be late.

I need to reach the colony before the first firework booms. I need to ensure all of them are well fed so they can sleep through the deafening horror night and stay away from the street, stay away from the drunk, stay away from people who lost their mind and burn their so called hard earned money for a crack of fire or blow of a horn.

That’s right.Work their arse off, hold on to the purse tight, don’t share. And then, boom it once, blow it once, shoot it to the air, whee!
Throw them to the garbage, and wake up with horrible hangover.

For me it doesn’t make sense. For her, even more.

She was alone in that complex, all abandoned, quiet as grave, while people packed the road just outside its gate, trying frantically to make way through so they can get the best spot; furiously blaring their gasses and tooting their horns as if they are running away from Armageddon.

She fold herself in half and flattened herself against a planter, the best corner she found, though in fact, she is all the way in the open. Her eyes wide, watching the sky in terror.

There was nothing in the sky; not yet, but maybe she knew.

I extended my hand, and move closer slowly, but my message didn’t go through.

I put my bag on the ground, and offer her a pouch of Whiskas.

Hunger speaks louder than words.

I can’t leave her there, even if I rushed to the colony and come back to keep her company. I can’t bring her home, my house can’t be called a house anymore and it will take time before I put everything in order.

I emptied my bag, put everything in a spare tote and try to get her in.

She wouldn’t

I am running late, and she wouldn’t let me convince her I meant no harm and part of her is still busy terrified about whatever it is in the empty sky that she kept staring at, and the food down on earth that keeps her standing.

At one point I hissed as loud as I can, and she turned to see me right in the eye. “I am OK, can’t you see? I want to help you, now come closer and get in my bag, hurry”

For some reason she stayed still. I pick her up, put her in my bag, zip it back, grab my tote and run.

She struggled inside, and she bite, and she screamed. She didn’t want to go in, but she was terrified outside. I tried to calm her down, but she wasn’t having any of it.

And I am running late.

I was supposed to get to the colony at seven, but it’s fifteen minutes to 8 pm and I am still in the middle of everything.

I can’t go back home, it will be too late to go back out. Public transport had stopped running, Uber is full booked, the road will be blocked.

I just keep going with my backpack jettison left and right and center, and she just keep biting when I touch my backpack even if I really want to just calm her down.

I had to hide that angry bag in the bushes because everyone was afraid to see me struggling with it, but it’s nothing compared to almost falling down the motorbike as my rider struggle to keep the balance.

She was storm in a bag.

And then I can’t go home.

All the riders cancelled my order when they saw the struggling bag that can’t stay still and just keep screaming and scratching. One brave enough to try, but turned around after few meters away, waving my money off and answer my apologies with swears and name because he was sure I was trying to kill us all, and all was part of a stupid game.

I sat alone in the park. It was wet, and it was dark. The road is empty, everyone is in the field, packing the town square, somewhere clear.

And temptation was great to just open my bag and let her run. She asked for it. She didn’t want my help, she didn’t take my good intention in the same good will. She spat at my open heart and took my kindness with fierceness and arguments.

I am tired and drained. There are so many things thrown on my face on and on and on. The more I tried to be patient and have faith, the more I was cornered. The more I tried to believe, the more I was betrayed. The more good I am trying to do, the more bad I receive.
At the end of the year when everyone has grin on their faces and laughter in the air, the only one left in my heart is not hope. The only thing left was anger.

Slowly, she fell silent. I didn’t realize since when, because I was busy roping pieces of my heart and keeping those together.

I opened my bag, and see if she was all right.

She sat inside, looking at me. There were no longer fear in those eyes, there were only sadness. Or it was sadness in those eyes because it reflect mine, like sunset in the puddle?

I closed my bag and start walking. And the sadness and sorry in those eyes were distorted, wrinkled, speckled, and when all the scrambled little ripples reach its end, the image is gone. I had to look where I am going. It’s past 9 pm. No one is online, only dim light checkered by tall trees.

Somewhere in the middle of the way, There were still at least 10 km and another two uphill. I sat by the concrete wall by the river.

She was silent all the way.

So I took my phone and see if there is someone still working.

There was only one, and he was not fun to ride with. His attitude just keep my anger near its boiling point, but maybe just like me, he has many things that cornered him enough that he is still working while everyone else is having fun.

I opened my bag, at long last, when the front door was locked behind me, but she didn’t jump out. She stayed there until I greeted everyone and the first fire shot to the sky.

The next day she was by the door of my room. The place she cleared out herself by scratching, clawing and screaming everyone. Big and small, young and old.

I walked past her and to the bathroom. I run around the house and had the day go on.

I went back to my room in the afternoon for a breath and a prayer. Estebel worth it once and for all.

The next morning, she gave her head to me. I gave mine, and she clawed my face, but I was fast enough and stay safe.

On the third day of the new year she still stay by my room. I looked at her and walk past. I had the day to go on, I had life that move on.

In the evening, I stopped by the window, and see sunset drown into dusk. It had just stopped raining. I felt paws on my hand.

I saw her head on my arm, but I stayed still.

I gave her food and move on.

At night, when I disappear to the porch, just to see that empty sky for a sign if this year is going to be better, I saw the full moon.

It didn’t give me answer, so I walked back in, and saw her sitting by the door to my room.

There was no anger in those eyes, only sadness. Maybe just a reflection, like sunset in the puddle.

When I entered my room I felt her paw on my hand. I saw her head on my arm.

This time I stroke her on her head, and she didn’t claw me.
She stand on my chest, and put her head on my cheek.
I didn’t push her away, and she didn’t claw me.

Like sunset in the puddle, she was distorted. Wrinkled, speckled, and when all the scrambled little ripples reach the ends, the image is gone.

But after a while, the water settled, and the reflection is clear.

~ Josie

Published by

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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