At long last, I lost it.
I keep my courtesy to the very old lady behind the table; she is very old.
I mean, very, old.
Yet she still knows the difference between garlic and leek, while others like her can no longer make a difference between red and blue. She knows the price of that potatoes I bought out of her head, and she knows how much I should pay for whatever I put in her scale.
Everything in her humble stall is well arranged, clean, and fresh. Including her cat, who steals my attention.
In fact, it was her cat that always attracted me to buy from her stall, even though I have to walk from one end of the market to the other just to buy spices. Her cat is white, clean, well groomed. No loose fur, good muscle, a little belly. She sniffed on my jeans, and meow courteously for food, which I never deny.
That particular day, the lady who sells plastic bags just by the next stall came close. “Feed her baby too!”
And everyone around said the same.
The owner of the stall said nothing, so I thought she agreed as well.
So I took another paper plate, put it beside the clean and beautiful kitty, pour down another pouch of Whiskas, and let the lady put the baby down.
He ran briefly to his plate, and start munching passionately.
To our shock and disbelief, the nice and sweet kitty we all know and praised, mauled him.
Not a single growl, not a single stare, or snarl. Nothing. Just mauled him out of the blue, fiercely, deadly.
I snatched the baby off the ground; he was already tummy up and all four stretched up, playing dead. His face was grimly desperate, he cannot move.
And at the end of the awkward silence that follows, the ancient grandma said with her gentle voice and slow speech, seriously;
“I think, her baby is a little bit bigger”
I can feel everyone fell off their stand; well, I rolled eyes, but I would fell off my stand too, even more so because I don’t know anything.
He went home with me, and become the new star of the ever growing kittengarten, until three days later, salivating like crazy.
He has Calicivirus, and all his tongue is full with cold sores.
He cannot eat, he cannot drink, he cannot meow, he cannot sleep, he cannot do anything.
On top of FIV, FeLV, Panleukopenia, now, Calicivirus.
God must be crazy, or He is intent on killing us.
We took turn giving him IV, feed him liquefied food every two hours, medicine, supplements, vitamins, whatever crossed our mind.
None of us dared to think he will make it. Calicivirus is fast, and it sticks for a long time, and he is still a baby. At least one of us stayed up overnight, every night, to hold him off and ward evil spirit from snatching him away.
None of us dared to believe, however, that at the end of those excruciating two weeks, we found him early at dawn, by my bedroom door, with a long, healthy, hungry, meow.
Honestly I didn’t know how, but we started calling him Eden too, in one of our zombie nights.
This picture was taken this morning, the first day he rammed toward us and played with our toes, as if nothing ever happened.
Eden is just around the corner, if only we bore the nightmare and the hard labor, and we carried on walking in the valley of darkness, and made him our hero.