Six times I passed that road throughout the day, six times I saw her running back and forth as if she had lost her mind.
Sometimes she would cross the street. Six lanes, hectic road, to and from Bandung’s bus terminal that connect this town elsewhere.
Six lanes full of people who can care less about others, just because they can. In and around bus terminal is a jungle of its own. They are only two kinds of people: the predator and the prey.
I thought she was Independence Day; a handsome alley cat I met back in 2015, chased and harassed while trying to pass through a parade to commemorate our freedom.
Independence Day visited a small Chinese diner around the corner, where I often dropped by to have small bites. Mostly because it’s cheap, and because there are always stray cats there, fed and free.
About a year after, the Chinese diner moved to the same road where we live, a few miles down, close to the main road. When I came there, to greet the owner and to wish them luck, I learned that she had given Independence Day away “to a visitor who said he will take care of him”.
That’s it. She didn’t know anything about the adopter. She didn’t even know his name. She further boasted about how easy it is to find an adopter for a long haired cat, and how smart was she to grab each chance that came.
Then she told me about how she contracted cancer, and how she would appreciate if I can find adopters for her seven “rescues”. She told me that she will give me commission if I can help her sell her three billion Rupiah house that she recently purchased; to where she moved her diner, so she can pay her medication.
She is still here on earth today, she has a baby, she hired a nanny and a maid, she has a new car, she is chubbier, and she still lives in her three billion Rupiah house. It’s just that she closed her diner because everybody stopped going there.
I stopped going there. Though the cook is the same, the foods steadily lost their taste.
So, when I passed that road where the Chinese diner was the first time, for the seventh time that day, I thought Independence Day had found what she was looking for.
Turns out, she was following me all the way across the parking lot of that large wholesaler where we bought our frozen beef and eggs.
She meowed at my bag, looked at me, going round, sniffed and with a broken hearted eyes, turn the other way, as if desperately look for something.
She was so thin, I can count her ribs from afar.
She was so tired, she didn’t move that much even though she seemed to be running with all her might.
She was so dirty, her blonde long hair became grey marmalade.
I called her and opened my arms. She came to me and meowed, asking if I have what she wants.
I held her and rode home with her.
I called the vet and learned that she was nursing, though wherever I saw her going that whole day, there was no kittens in sight.
It dawned on me, that the whole day, that day, she ran maniacally back and forth as far as she can to look for her children.
It dawned on me, either someone took her kittens away, or kept her kittens and dumped her away.
Upon finding Independence Day’s picture, though, it dawned on me that she is not who I think she is.
She stayed anyway.
For days it was difficult for her to eat; it was difficult for her to sleep. She was jumpy and she was afraid.
For days it was difficult for her to live.
Eventually, it dawned on her that unless God himself turns the sky to green, there is no chance she will find her kittens again; just like it dawned on me that there is no chance I will find Independence Day to make sure he lives as he deserve to live.
Eventually it dawned on her that life goes on, and so should she.
I gave her Independence Day’s name; in hope and prayers that – as she moves forward in life – she will find peace, independence, and freedom in pursuit of her own happiness – as birth right to each and every creature,