There has been no doubt that I need a break; long overdue. All these tsunami when life happened and the aftermath: Big Sister, Cinderella, Charlie, baby Kai, Sokka, Zukko, Katarra, mama Jade. Before a chance for a breath, a new kitten in emergency called Pierre, and then Ricky. Next, a mini Upper Respiratory Infection outbreak that we got from ugly weather, fresh Australia’s storms.

I had forgotten the days, the night, I had forgotten to eat, to drink, to sleep. I had forgotten that the world went round, and that I am still on planet Earth, just with an uglier creature called human with rotten hearts, blistering negligence, and ulcerating ignorance.

I had stopped feeling, I had stopped thinking. I only realized that if I went down the ravine too far, when I cannot snap out of my depressive cycle (of borderline bipolar), and go back out to claim my life back. I only realized when I had difficulties counting 243+671 and the next day, took half an hour to calculate 6 x 52,000; the price I need to pay for tuna.

There has been no doubt that I have been texting back and forth with the universe without any punctuation, much fewer periods. There has been no doubt that I need to find my comma; and the semicolon: next time I have difficulties to breath, call.

So I call.

There has been this lingering worries and fear because all this time, despite all the effort and all the loyalties of good friends of The Whiskers’ Syndicate, that if I don’t post, donations died.

I was trapped and taken hostage by the work that I truly love, yet there was no ransom. No single word.

In choosing between death and death, what is there to doubt? I choose death; although death in believing that our Syndicate will never abandon me, at least the cats. The fundraising may fail, the donation might plummet, but we will live, somehow, anyhow.

And we live.

I still work during my break, just so the biting threats of our future is not too bleak, but in restraining myself from the all other part of the world to give myself some release, I still ebb and flow in constant.

To keep my mind from going completely lost, I have chosen a very bad place to start: my bedroom. The room that has been the curse of the whole house. It’s damp; almost wet, with fungus, mold, and seeping water that weighed down my lungs every single minute I lay in it.

And I still need to care for some cats there, at times, when I am running out of space.

In a pinch like that, throwing away things felt more excruciating than it should be. In fact, it felt excruciating for no reason at all because my bed is so damp it’s no longer white, the spring had begun to decay, and I was never sure if it will hold every time I climb on it, much less with extra five cats.

Throwing away my mold-eaten table felt excruciating, throwing away my blackened stationery felt excruciating, and throwing away all the decorations and linens that permanently stained by nastiness and embraces perpetual smelling felt excruciating.

The process of putting my life to a complete halt, while building anew, probably felt as excruciating as woman in labor itself.

I am woman in labor, I am giving birth to our new, better, healthier life.

I gave them away one after another. The headboard, the bed, the mattress. Mostly to junkyard, the rest, to the garbage bin.

I saw the floor one tile after another. Until there are more but mess, disgusting heaps of craps, and more mess, and the whole smell that made my lingering migraine twice as bad.

I spent two brooms, and a scraper, and some dozen of mops and floor cleaners to make it look decent again.

Then a little time to realize that my neighbor had cut her side of the wall and built her newly boasted kitchen on her side of my wall. The greed that started all the misery, the story, this post.

Throwing the stone, even though the neighbor deserves so many, will only make things worse.

What I thought was simple dampness, required another set of treatment that cost beyond all I can save.

It’s just that, I went too far to stop, much less come back. I have 90 lives I am responsible of, and the future of all the kittens who found their way into our home.

So, one more thing to give: the wall. I knocked all the mortar and washed it with fungicidal solution. I layered it new with swimming pool concrete, after a while, cementitious waterproofing agent, and after that, waterproofing paint, and then, surrendering my dream of laying my long adored wallpaper, go with the mundane, old school, wall paint.

What came next is a dark, almost black, wall; but it’s dry. It doesn’t leak, it is not damp, and although it still feels cold, it no longer makes my hand wet. It’s no longer sweating, much less dripping, and there is no more teeny insects that nested under the layers.

And Vera, one of us with chronic pneumonia that gives her snorts and snots the rest of her five years life since her kittenhood, slept and curled up in complacent peacefulness.

And a comma, perhaps semicolon, to stop me on my track to oblivion and give me the chance to regain my energy, my spirit, my direction, in continuing my quest to Canaan alongside these cats, rescued animals.

Alongside you all, who have started your pilgrimage with us toward the promised land, and never left us since.

~ 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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