As result of a fierce hailstorm and two days rain three weeks ago, our shelter is in need of immediate repair; so we set out to find a recommended, yet affordable repairman. We took all of our savings, and for the first few days, all was good.
Near the end of the contract, we had a rainstorm. A rainstorm with an ugly truth: all of the places we told him to fix were still leaking. Nothing had been done, just a few cheap tricks and shortcuts that will not withstand another day
By the way, we have a lot of rainstorms.
In exercising my right to an explanation and responsibility, I received the very common reply I received from Bandung men: That he has 15 years of experience, that he had build over twenty five houses on his own, aside of countless repairs, that he knows what he was doing, and whatever the heck he was about to do.
And that I am a woman, a younger, so I should shut my mouth and accept the end result.
Perhaps he lost his mind, if he had one in the first place, but for sure I lost my temper.
For the next few days since, we were on the roof every morning, for as long as we can before our duty calls or the rain comes.
Duty calls, as in caring for the cats. We have several that have lived past their prime. Just like humans, some age gracefully, some went through the road a little bit bumpy.
I lost Kinta, picked up from the dumpster dirty, hungry and sick as two months old, and grow up to be seven. In more sickness than health, he was a big brother to many kittens, some see their adulthood and look up to him until his passing.
I lost Freed about a week later. I went under a parking car to get him out of the engine compartment before he become minced meat. He fit the palm of my hand then, he outgrew my arms six years later. He got chronic respiratory problem, but he lived free and crossed the rainbow in his own term.
There were also several babies that we took from the street, and we kept them despite their incurable illnesses. If we cannot give them their entire lives, we can give them as long as they want. If we cannot give them prosperity, we can give them all we have, that instead of dying an orphan among the garbage of men, the rain that made their rainbow bridge were love, joy, acceptance, and security.
Drowning slowly in the quicksand of grief, I withdrew deliberately from the world to catch a breath or two. It’s a risky decision. I know that if I stop showing up for just one day the rest of the world except a handful will abandon our page; but I also know that if I just keep going without a mend, I will continue shedding a part of me until there is none, while there are still so many waiting for the touch of love they probably denied for life.
Or is there really any such thing called hope after all?
One cloudy afternoon a man walking down the street, oblivious of the four little feet trying to keep up behind him. That tiny kitten lost her liege, eventually, but there was another man with a basket full of tofu that he wants to sell for a living.
So there she went, chasing and chasing, until her two pairs of tiny legs lost all their power, and she stumbled on the road.
When she stood back up, there was none.
It took me a while to cross that dense road, because none of the passing vehicles gave me way; but when she saw me walking toward, her eyes set alight and blaze with the only one thing she remembers: hope.
Maybe, this time, if she tries hard enough, she will follow me home and hopefully find her mother, or at least someone to watch over her.
She tried to eat and she learns to drink. She sees others jump and found herself up high. She waited too long for someone to copy climbing down that she falls asleep on the kitchen counter, among dirty laundry, under a box, in a basket.
But this time, when she stands back up, she is never alone.
As I tucked her to sleep tonight, I remembered Moses. He was walking alone and he stumbled, but he stood back up and keep walking, so God opens the Red Sea just for him.
I remembered Jesus. Though He was the crown prince of the kingdom of heaven He walked alone and stumbled, but He stood back up and carried His cross, and God has given him the best of places where He rules alongside his Father.
I remember Miso. She is just six weeks old. She only has four tiny fangs; others have not grow. She didn’t know hunting, she did not know scavenging. She did not know where to get some drink, she does not know where to find her mother. She walked alone and stumbled, but she stood back up, and keep on trying, as much as she can, as long as she can. Now she lives among others, with food available as soon as she needs one, with fresh water all day long, with roof to protect her from rain and sun, with love showered upon her every day, every way.
I look to myself at the mirror. I came to this town with nothing but my person. I went to hell where people are ignorant and animals suffers through one end of life to the other. I cannot save everyone, but I can save one, then the next. I cannot make them live long and prosper, but I can give them the chance. I walked alone and stumbled, but if Moses stood back up, if Jesus stood back up, if Miso stand back up,
I should stand back up myself and keep fighting.