I just had to run. I really have to run.
So I run, and rammed through the door, and slam the door behind me; and slumped to the floor in my tiny bedroom that still smell like fungus in a thousand years old cave though I promised that I will fix it this holiday.
And there it is, still green and black and fifty shade of grey at the change of the month.
This place is my sanctuary, though ocassionally, one or two migrants come to join me legally or otherwise. I can’t throw out the babies and kids.
But it was particularly hard day. This cat fight with that cat, one other push things off the counter, one scream and the other cry, someone is at the door but I cannot rush just in case I ran over some kittens or step on particular tail. Despite my warning and all my efforts, some still pee under the door, or in the bowl, or somewhere in the middle of everywhere and I slipped and fall quite several times though I really do learn my lesson.
Maybe it’s the full moon, maybe it’s the girl’s mama’s screaming, maybe it’s Charlie the Prince of Persia chasing everyone round and round and round …
And I have to go to work, and I have to clean the house, and I have two more rounds of laundry, and I have order need a lift to post office, and I have to post and fund raise.
And I have to get out of this hell.
I grabbed my laptop and my hard disk and throw it into my bag, slather face primer, change my T shirt, blew like wind out of the house and onto the road and just keep running. Ahead of me is fourty five degrees slanted slope but I just keep running.
And a motorcycle cut my way just midway.
“Are you in a hurry? motorbike taxi?”
I climbed on and tell the rider to take me to the main road.
And then I run again, across the street, to the bus terminal, chasing the last one that just went off, climb on.
And I am stranded in this cafe I always run to when my wits come to it’s fraying end.
The waitress knows me. The manager knows me, and he waved his hand telling everyone to give me some space until I am ready, and tell the barista to send me a warm tea.
Chamomile. What I always ordered if I don’t have mixed berry, which, he probably sensed that it will just make me even more sour.
And there was this message in Instagram.
His English is unusual. It’s natural, more like me, it’s not text book like majority of ESL speaker throughout the country. It’s like he has been speaking English for the rest of his life instead of learning it at school and practice every day.
I took my deep breath. At time like this, God? Really?
And the curse and frown that keeps lingering at the back of my head whenever I asked for a break: “Have you read about Job, sweetie?”
I told the other guy I need to do something, I need him to wait and secure the cat, if he care, and I will be right there when I am done.
He said, he was not going anywhere for a while. He worked in that mall and he is done at that time, but he has a train to catch later that night and he didn’t feel like going back home and come again. The train station is just back to back with that place.
Fine. I dragged my laptop out, I took my deep breath, while the corner of my eye caught the waiter walking closer.
And I have to smile because he has nothing to do with it, and he is new and he is trying his best.
And I told him I am regular to that cafe, and I asked him to please be kind and ask his senior what I usually order.
He said he already knew. His senior briefed him before, and that he will try his best as I am his first customer now that he is an official member of staff.
And it just flowed. I am not happy with my post, but it flowed, and I let it flow. I have to cross half the town in forty five minutes, and Ramadhan is coming to an end, and everyone starts to go away, and the road is not going to have any mercy. Not any left.
And I gobbled down my sandwich like a barbarian dwarf of ‘The Lord of The Rings’, or maybe one of those sick young kings of the Lannisters in ‘The Game of Thrones’.
And I drank down my chamomile tea like the Galoises.
And I just threw my laptop back into my bag and swept everything else from the table.
And I ran the stairs and tripped on my last step but fast enough to hold myself together instead of diving head first onto hard floor
And I was such in a panic, with all that came crushing me, that I typed my PIN wrong.
And I felt the manager’s hand on my shoulder.
“Lady, you are going to be all right”
I looked at him. “I saw you often. You are a hard worker, you seemed to be a compassionate woman, you seem to carry a lot but walk with all of those on your shoulder gracefully none the less. You will be all right. Calm down, the world will wait. It cannot afford to lose you”
If this is not Indonesia, I will give him a big bear hug.
And then I run outside and waved a taxi.
And I arrived in front of the Starbucks where the guy said he waited with the cat out of breath yet again.
And he said, he had to use the bathroom and the cat wasn’t there anymore when he came out.
And we waited.
And we talked.
And he told me that he took his gap year trying to think what he should do in university. And he told me his parents are friends of the owner of the mall, and so he came to work there with his family’s special connection. He is not proud of it, but he thought, everything happened for a reason, so he will walk it as far as he can, and ask as many questions as possible.
And he is a Catholic.
And I said to God, the last time I was asking a question, the answer I received was: “Have you read about Job, sweetie?”
And he voiced his concern, and how he fell in love with the cat, and even give it a name: Socks, because the cat wears socks on both hind legs.
And I told him, I have this feeling that we will get the cat. I asked him if he wants to accompany me going around and try to find the cat, or just sit there and see if the cat comes back because it seemed like it is familiar with the area.
And that place is huge. It used to be about five clusters of residential complex, and now it’s a mall.
And we can’t find the cat regardess.
I told him I have cats I need to care for at home and that I cannot stay longer, but I promised the heart-broken and self-blaming young guy that I will come often and find the cat for him.
We part ways.
And I was on my ride home when he send me a message that the cat had come back.
The rider was sort of angry when I asked him to turn back. I know he would. The road is jam packed and we couldn’t move anywhere without taking round and I pay him flat rate.
And so I told him I will pay at least one and a half times.
And yet, when we got to the gate, I made him smile when I paid him double. He took a lot of effort getting back to that mall in less than an hour.
And I run like hell because I know the man should have gone to the train by now and if I am late even ten minutes he will definitely be forbidden to board.
And he was there, on the steps, with the cat laying down right by his leg.
And I saw his face glimmering with hope and salvation.
I took the cat, put it in my bag, and wished him a safe journey.
And he waved his hand.
And he said he probably will just stay in Bandung instead of going back to Jakarta and abroad next year for his degree, and adopt the cat.
And I remembered the cafe manager.
I told him “The cat will not go anywhere. I promise I will take good care of her. The world needs more of compassionate and smart people, so please go, because it cannot afford to lose you.”
He turned his back, I turned my back. It was like Korean drama.
And the cat went home.