I’VE GOT MAIL

Someone dumped three kittens near her house, and she doesn’t know what to do with them; a typical story.

Most, if not all the time, such and such will end with a request to pick up the kittens and be done with all of it.

This one ends in a similar way, except that the girl who wrote the mail ended up driving three kittens, late at night, with a motorcycle, from the other end of town. She got lost, and when she finally found where I live, she knocked on my neighbor’s door.

One of those three babies was baby Kai. It was around June 10, 2018.

What took me was not just the care given to these babies, but also the carrier. She cannot look into my eyes, she averted her eyes every time I tried to make eye contact during our short conversation. Her face was expressionless, and she talked like a telegram.

I wondered what happened to this girl that distorted her so much, but we were strangers then, and it is improper to ask questions.

For us Asian girls, our lives revolve around our duties to family members: our parents, our siblings, our spouses. Although I believe that as soon as we are adults, we are one person who responsible only to ourselves, the social pressure to keep the “harmony” often costs the lives of young women who breaks conformity and lost the fight against peer (and social) pressure.

My war is due to my unusual animal rescue activities, hers is, in respect of her privacy, an overbearing parent. She is forty and she lives like a string puppet to her widowed mother.

But she loves animals, and my shelter is a refuge for her. She has no other skill beyond feeding dry food to a cat, but I took her anyway. I told her how to measure and mix kitty milk. I taught her the various illness of cats and the symptoms, and how to treat them. She started with cleaning litter box, and she done so like Edward Scissorhand, but I took her anyway.

Because the cats love her. I mean, loooooove her. They hang around her, they stick on her like stamp to the post card, wherever she goes, cats lining up behind her like children following Pied Piper.

And I am shameless. I use the cats to lure her. I use the cats to keep her coming. First twice a week, then every day for eight hours, then ten, then twelve, then fifteen, then twenty. Days, and weeks, and months.

First we spoke over lunch, then, after I know she loves Starbucks (and coffee), we share stories over Frappucino: of her past, of her present, of her wishes, of her dreams. Of my past, of my present, of all my experiences, and all the peer pressures. We spoke of my breakage, and what keeps me strong.

We spoke of my wish and enforcement that she will one day find courage to fight for her own freedom, and the bravery to live as her own person.

One day, came her smile; and then, her anger, then her blush, then her tears.

Blood is running on her face, and she speaks like a human being. She looks into my eyes, she stands straight, she walks with a swing on her arms.

She is funny, and bright. She is caring, and passionate, and patient.

One day I gave her the keys to my house, and told her that if she so wish, she can call my house her house, and this tiny cat shelter her home.

I am crazy. I struggled to afford myself a living (while the cats rely on my salary and donations) and I took in another person. But then, should I just pass her by, while I know I can help? Can I look into those dying eyes, say sorry, and walk away?

She asked if there is still chance for her life to change. I told her a quote that I read somewhere, some times in the past: that every day we are given a bunch of opportunity and chances, ready for us to use freely, just like sunlight and air, but most of the time we end up not using it anyway.

The next month she moved in.

And The Whiskers’ Syndicate has a new caretaker.

~ 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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