Imagine her, with her glorious, white fur. So fluffy, so smooth, so soft. A little dirty, perhaps; with speckles of stain here and there. She lives on the street, so there’s no helping it, but see the way she sits, under that chair on the balcony, eyes closed, chin up, ray of sun straight on her face.
I see a lady, no, a princess, heck, maybe a Goddess. A white Bast? May our Lady forgive us.
For a little while, and then she shifted, slowly; moved a little bit to the right. Not long after, a little bit to the left.
Something was off, though she did try her best to adjust. It’s her home; she lives there by the day and through the night, she stayed there through the sun and under the rain. Under a porch table with large umbrella, on a balcony of Kentucky Fried Chicken, just few steps away across the street where Mama Cherish resides.
From behind the clear glass on the other side, I saw those hints of anguish, almost unseen under her attempted elegance. I saw what went wrong.
The name is Covid. Covid-19. It just dropped by in March and turned her world upside down when all of a sudden that branch of KFC closed down. When all of a sudden rolls of plastic five times her size was there no longer. When all of a sudden even the putrid smell of the rubbish pile she would call diner evaporated. There was nothing there but barren concrete stained with rotten splats of dirt and filth.
Still she stayed. One day, two days. She can still manage to scrape off small stalls that practice ninjutsu and open in secret; rolling their tents and stack their stools pretending to be closed whenever the police would run.
Four days, one week, two weeks. One day, her humble heaven will return.
But I lost my imagination on what might be through the last three months. I just knew it must be horrible that she was so thin, there was nothing left of her but her grayish fur and that third eyelid half closed, no matter how much she tried to look ahead.
She stood, I stood; but barely one step. She just sat there slowly, because it hurts just to lay there on barren floor.
One minute, darling. One minute. I am waiting for my take-away and then it will be your turn.
I sling an empty fabric shopping bag on my shoulder and walked casually around the place to the door that brought me to her plain. I kneel in front of her and touch her paw.
She looked at me. Those darn third eyelids just won’t go down.
She tried to answer my greetings. Slowly, gently, like a queen greeting her subject kneeling before her, but those small, coarse voice was of the real her: mere stray cat killed slowly by hunger.
I lay my shopping bag in front of her, and then I lifted her, as slowly as I could, fearing I would break her in two, or tear her apart, because there was only that fur keeps her depleted structure together.
She can barely move. She can’t even meow. She just used the last voice she has when she greeted me. I took her shipping orders. Five minutes later and the road will be hell as people that survived the pandemic rushed into ‘new normal’ to regain their lives. My bet was right: people didn’t even notice.
The towel just a little bit under my dining table was a little bit dirty. Kids; they just can’t leave anything unturned; and I have dozens of them ready to wreck havoc until they are no longer kittens and become cats. No guarantee, though.
I lay her there and put shreds of fish in front of her. She was eager. She wants to eat, but she cannot even lift herself. I shredded the fish smaller, and give her the liberty. She took forty five minutes just to finish chewing a few.
I gave her nutritious gel, I put water and pedyalite into a syringe and dripped it into her mouth. I put a blanket over her. She slept through the rest of the day.
When I finished working, thirty minutes toward dusk, I found her by the water bowl. When I finished one more chore, I found her somewhere else.
When I prepared dinner for all the house to enjoy, I found her in the kitchen, still sitting like a lady, but way, way to the back, with doubt over her eyes, and worried peeking behind her third eyelids, now a wee bit down.
I kneel again, in front of her regal seating; and this time she greets me like the Elven Queen from Lothlórien clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad. I remembered the next part of the tale. It will say “‘I pass the test’, she said. ‘I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel'”
But she will not diminish. Not yet. She will not go to the west nor to the south. She will stay in our home, as humble and unacceptable as it is for a fair lady that she is, and flourish.
She will find again the strength that lifts her chin and close her eyes, a ray of sun on her face, but then that face will not be pale, it will be gleaming.
She will find again the dignity of her ancestors, that was passed down to her but robbed by ignorance of humanity. She will find again, the power and tact of a huntress.
She will find again, her dominion among us.
And just like that small passage of books of legends and tales:
Even among the Eldar she was accounted beautiful, and her hair is held a marvel unmatched. It is golden like the hair of her father and of her foremother Indis, but richer and more radiant, for its gold is touched by some memory of the starlike silver of her mother; and the Eldar say that the light of the Two Trees, Laurelin and Telperion, has been snared in her tresses.
Should I call the lady Galadriel? But first and foremost, would you help me secure her chance to recover?