LIFE TAKES TIME

So we have this appointment, and we ‘d better be downtown by 3 pm.

Thirty minutes left, then, and random roadblocks and detours put by township doesn’t help, but make people who had to find their living grit their teeth more than less a little bit.

Sure, we get it. Limiting people movement and making the road difficult discourages people to go out, hence help contain the virus; but here, we don’t have social security. Meaning during lockdown, everyone lost their income and is forced to eat from whatever is left in their homes. Now that we have this new life adaptation (wearing mask everywhere, washing our hands), people bear with Covid and go back to their job, if they still have one.

I’m lucky to have the best motorbike rider in the world. Even in a jammed packed road we slip between the cars, left and right like water flows through the rocks in the river.

Except when we swivel into that small alley to cut the way. We stopped almost abruptly at the roadside and suddenly forget about meetings.

Smart thinking people go to that alley. Bicycles, motorbikes, taxis, large cars, trucks, even, to cut a mere 15 minutes off their journey, that might mean the whole life for them.

The whole life for me is that cat. Crumpling under a parking car, like a thrown away rag and tatters. Bloody face, hole on the nose, filthy, fur covered with motor oil, bad eyes, waiting to die.

And it’s God damned difficult to cross the road a few steps wide, because everyone is in the rush, and no one gives way.

A parking lot guy blew his whistle and someone made way, eventually. I jumped twice and reached the other side of the road while Sheilla turned around with the motorcycle in a suddenly hectic alley.

I lay down on the road and start crawling under that car.

She peered and shifted further. I tried to catch up and she shifted further. If I keep trying, though, she will end up on the road.

So I backed off, ran back to the motorcycle, got myself some cat food and poured down what must be the only food she ever gets in who knows how long.

I waited long enough until she was completely absorbed by her food, grabbed her, and ran back to the motorcycle before her tantrums went out of control

Sheilla had emptied our backpack and there she went, angry and tossing.

We got to the meeting site half an hour late and my attire was nothing but dust and dirt, but I walked into the room with full confidence and extended my hand.

“Hi, we had a little bit of an accident so I am wearing the latest Prada instead of a plain old jacket and blouse, because I am Josie. How are you?”

And there she was, suddenly quiet, all the way through the meeting; all the way back home; all the way when we set her up to a comfortable corner, all the way when we clean her eyes, clean her bloody face, though we were still not allowed to touch that hole on her nose; though she still runs away and hides under the chair when we try to clean her.

Like life, things take time, I guess. Just like her taking her time trying her best to stay alive, even if it means walking though the sewer to avoid traffic, rummaging though small piles of garbage for a tidbit of food, and let bacteria eat her nose. She took time to hide as long as she needs, and even if that was not enough to avoid a broomstick hitting her back or kicking shoes into her face, she takes time to just sit in the corner, waiting for life to pass her by.

At least, after two days she let me call her name. There used to be a DA’s office there, so we call her Dea.
At least, after four days I can lift her swiftly and move her without incident when I clean her bed.
At least, by now she would sit near my feet when one of us prepared food.

At least she is home.

~ 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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