THE OTHER MOSES

I found it a little bit unusual at the park that night. It’s not a public holiday, and it’s not full moon, but people are walking around the park and the group of gamers that usually only gather on weekends came in droves.

Now that I think of it, the road is a little bit more hectic than usual, which is the reason I am late; well, aside from all the piling chores that I tried to break down anyway.

Not only the road, today in itself seems to be busier. Things popping and going faster; and no matter how much I try to catch up, the whole day seems to be bursting in bubbles

Ah, well, no need to put too much thought about it. It’s a little bit before 9 pm. I am almost one hour late, so I better go to the eatery by the corner where the colony used to wait for me, before they thought I am not coming and go on separate ways for their living.

I mount my backpack and shove both my hands into my jacket; swinging my leg to cross the park and onto the colony. If I can finish early, maybe I can get something to eat myself, because I haven’t got any since the morning and I was kind of starving.

Somewhere in the middle of that row of gamers kid, who chatters casually along both sides of the pedestrian way, I heard muffled meows, but I thought, it was someone else’s cellphone. It doesn’t really sounds like cellphone though, but I don’t feel like stopping and looking back whilst in the middle of a group of strangers, so I just keep walking.

It was actually Fergus and the shy Tortie. They were probably thinking I was not going to show up so they go across the park where the food trucks are to bet on their luck when they saw me walking.

One has short leg and long hair, the other has long leg and short hair; but both ran as fast as they can to pass me; their skips and stomps drumming on the pavement.

It was such a delight; both for me and for them, when they brake hard just in front of me and I bloom like spring.

“Oh, hi!”

I don’t know if the cats are protesting or celebrating, but from the tone of it, at certain point of their long meow, they are asking for food.

So food it is, and a little bit extra as a reimbursement for making them run after me.

And then, some food for myself, at long last. I walked all the way back across the park where I arrived from, and pick one out of several stalls that lined the curve of the park.

I choose the dim sum because there is a calico lady there, with disposition just like Thelma who always greet the guests whether or not they took her greeting well. The dim sum stall owner and waiter told me, if the patron is kind, she will have a pat on the head, or better, half of their dim sum piece. Sometimes she got kicked to the side as an answer, but it is the first time they ever find her felt familiar enough to jump to the empty seat next to me as if we’re friends.

As usual, I put a paper plate down, and pour some Whiskas pouch. I don’t mind she eats with me on the table, but I don’t want her to have the habit of eating on the table or feeling too familiar with people because not everyone likes animals; and people here can be hideous, and I am not always there to protect her.

While waiting for my next basket I posted the picture of Fergus and shy Tortie to Instagram.

Usually, I will have several likes and one or two comments, but this time I have a message.

It said, there is this cute kitty roaming around on the gas station a few kilometers away, who seems to be clueless and confused.

Usually it’s a downright no, but something at the back of my mind wanted to try and see if this person is for real, and if (I think) she is, she probably works at the gas station because no one can give such detailed activity of the cats unless CCTV can post on Instagram. It’s 9:30 pm.

The conversation just keep going then, as my next basket of dim sum came out, as my drink came out, and as the calico lady started her second round of Whiskas.

I told the mysterious tip giver I will be there by twenty minutes, finish my food, and hail a ride to the gas station.

So much for a decent meal (again), but then again, it’s busy day that day, and it’s getting late, soon the park will be dark and empty and I should come back to the reality of piling chores at home.

I got to the gas station through the backside. Through a quiet road leading to St. Angela Catholic school on one corner, and the entrance of an Ursuline convent at the other.

But there was no cat there. I looked around the small garden. The message said that sometimes the lone kitty would sit by the small pathway toward the toilet, so I crossed the station to see if there is kitty by the toilet as described.

A gentle voice at my back stopped me, then.

“Are you looking for the kitty?”

I turned around and found a guy, in his mid twenties, perhaps, smiling rather sheepishly, but happy.

“Yes I am”

Today is indeed unusual. My tipper is a guy instead of normally female.

“There, she is sitting around under that banana tree”, he walked to the edge of the station, another small greenery by the large fire extinguisher.

“She was playing around, and then she looked here and there, but no one joined her, so she sighed, and play again”

What minute detail.

I squatted and the kitty looked at me.

“Will you come, little darling?” I extended my hand. It’s not so hard to imagine why a guy would fall in love with her. Look at that face!

She stands up, and walk straight to my arms.

“Are you going to take her home? She has no one here and it’s dangerous for her roaming around alone”, the guy asked.

I looked at him.

From the way his message goes; with detailed report on what the cat did and where, I had the idea that he took his chances, have faith that I will come, and wait there, guarding the little treasure he found but cannot care.

“Have you stayed here all the time until I arrived?” I just want to confirm my guess.

“Um, I was worried that she would run to the middle of the street and got killed. Such a pity, she doesn’t seem to understand how dangerous the world can be to a street cat”

So, at few hundred years BC a little girl put baby Moses in the basket and waited by the river, having faith that someone will see her brother drifting, and pick him up, and love him.

At 21st century, a young man waited by the gas station, having faith that the one cat shelter he contacted will see his little girl and pick her up and love her.

I wanted to ask if he will just go home if he think I wouldn’t come after some time, but I was there, though, and I hold the kitty. The world is full with mysteries. One more wouldn’t plunge it asunder.

“Please upload her to your Instagram” the man pointed at the kitty, and pulled out his motorbike keys.

I smile and nod. By then the girl had gone into my backpack. I also have to go home. It’s almost midnight.

Unfortunately it took me several days to get her photo. She is anti paparazzi; and she is smart. She can just stare at the camera, and on the second I move to press the button, she turns away. I have ten pictures of her, but those are ten out of many millions blurry ones.

I thought I’d go with Kellie, because she looks like our Nellie with black nose, though I am sure they are not related. It’s Kellie with K instead of Fellie with F, for example, because black is the K in the CMYK printing module.

I called her Angela once, from the school near where she was found, but it doesn’t feel right for some reason.

So I start calling her Ursula, from the Ursuline convent at the other side of St. Angela’s School. Sometimes it’s just Ursa, where Ursuline and Ursula came from. At other time, Ursa minor. At other time, usually when she is into some shenanigans, and especially when she meows to call me (getting stuck at something) it will be a long “Serviam” along the tune of Gregorian song.

And she always meows.

And she always run into my arms.

~ 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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