To be, or not to be?

I only have a few minutes to decide.

It’s almost a miracle that I gained her trust enough, that Shy Tortie would come after me whenever I stood by the corner of the restaurant.

It’s almost a miracle that she would, although very slowly, let me touch her.

It’s a true miracle that one day, just two weeks ago, she would show me her two babies. One is yellow tabby who looks like miniature Fuuta, the other one is a gray and black tabby with little white socks just like one of the bosses of that parkland I always come to every night.

And I haven’t let go of that chance since. I come every day, without fail, as long as the weather allowed. On time or late or early, and even between the madness of Ramadhan traffic I would come and stand there as tall as possible by the corner.

After two weeks the babies let me touch them; pet them. A week later they let me hold them, and then they let me carry them.

Two days ago I saw them alone. Waiting on the pedestrian way, in the dark, among the little shrubs that people there sell for gardeners around town. They have never left their mother before, but they are at that age when mothers usually start to train them to be independent, and Shy Tortie is still young.

I waited, she was not there. I called, she was not there.

I looked at the two babies again.

I can trap them first and go get their mother later, risking the mother going frantic looking for them, or I just let this opportunity pass and get them with their mother, and risk losing their trust when their mother refuses to come in peace.

My instinct is always right, but this time it didn’t give me a clear answer.

I thought I’d just wait for their mother, but two steps away I turned back, squatted, opened my backpack carrier and got them inside.

They froze in fear the first night, but the next morning, stuck by me as if I am their mother. Just like that, so easily, so conveniently.

I haven’t see their mother since, even though I keep coming, but since the diner where the colony stayed delved further and further away, as their four owners keep fighting over their inheritance, Fergus has been going on longer and longer journey. Fuuta moved away, and Shy Tortie sort of drifted from one spot to the other around the park and the other one just few hundred meters away.

Still I will keep trying, I will keep coming. Shy Tortie is the youngest member of the colony that is now in the verge of collapsing, and left no one for her to look up to; and she will be alone in an empty town when Ramadhan wraps up, and the whole town shuts down for a month.

I have been there. Losing the elders to whom I clamp my anchor, and grow up alone, drifting from one place to the other, with only my guts telling me which one to enter and which one to pass.

It’s liberating, but also terrifying. It’s freedom, but also entrapment. Although there were so many times when I have to fall to the wrong place at the wrong time, I can speak, I can fight, I can run, I have rights; she does not. At least not here.

So here is for one prayer, and I hope you will all join me in your own way, that we will find each other again, so that even when the colony has to end, there will be three heritage that one day will tell the story in the past.

But this one, does not end with silence, or darkness, or suffering.

~ 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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