After ten years, I finally made the journey home.
Back to where I was raised, back to where I grew up, back to where I leartn about things I believe in, things I want to be, and things I want to change in my world.
My youngest brother has finally found someone to share the remaining of his life with, and I will be flying to my hometown for his engagement.
It will be from the westernmost end of the island, to the easternmost end; and aside from an hour flight, I will be joining the rest of the family for a six hours ride to where his love of a lifetime would be.
I flew out of Bandung on Saturday at dusk, landed in Surabaya an hour later, and ride six hours straight to the town of Banyuwangi, arriving at two a.m Sunday morning. Next will be getting ready for the event at eleven, finish at three in the afternoon, flew out to Jakarta at four for one and a half hour, and ride another six hours back to Bandung.
It was just as crazy in preparation if not more, with babies sick, vet visit almost everyday, medicines to buy, life to manage, and stocking enough for the shelter to survive during my absence.
By the time I step back into my house, I have nothing left in me but a shipwreck of nerves and bones ready to scatter.
But my gruelling journey was nothing compared to his.
The Friday before my departure I picked him up on my way to work. He was motionless inside a large garbage bag, discarded on a joint of a back alley, literally a road less traveled.
We thought he was dead – hence discarded – but we turned back anyway, just to be sure.
He did nothing when I touch him, but I can see that he was trying to lift his head, though it seeemed at that time, even that was too much to do. His body was stiffened and crusted so badly, it must be very painful for him even to breathe. His face was like a shipwreck full of barnacles, and he cannot open his eyes even though I can bet he would eagerly do so. One of his legs are swollen.
I lifted him with the garbage bag and we rode him back home, locking him up inside the largest crate we can have, so he won’t spread his disease to others.
Touching him, I can only imagine the torture he had to endure as his mange slowly devoured him. I can only feel how his desperation must have grown alongside the terror as he helplessly fought all his best.
I can only imagine the dimming hope when he finally succumbed to his pain.
That Sunday midnight I saw him curled among other cats in the cattery, deep in his sleep. I can see that the medicine I gave him just few minutes before I went away start its heavy work. I can see that he ate the food we prepared just for him, I can see that he started to feel better, but it will be a while before the whole village of mange that eat him alive will be gone.
Then, he can start to be a cat again.
For me, the long journey was worth all the trouble. Meeting my family again, getting to know my nieces, who only knew by word that they have an aunty who lives far away, reconnecting the bonds that start to feel like distant memories, and together back as one as we celebrate the whole new world that my brother embarked into.
For him, I hope the long journey was worth all the patience. Getting to eat decent food and proper treatment that he never knew existed, reconnecting with the world he deserves to live in, experience the kindness that is his birth right, and embrace life as he embarks into the freedom he has long been denied.
May he be a cat again.