In that moment, a few ten steps feels like forever. Though I run, and run and run.
And from the other side a car came speeding, with its blinding light straight on me.
Can’t they see me? There must be a reason for someone to persistently stay on the road upon clear and present danger, or it’s just the matter of the law of the jungle in the heart of every animal?
Well, but I did get to her in time. I knew it in my heart. My mind faltered because it’s made from logic and calculation, but my heart runs by the stream of sheer will and livelihoods (plural) ten years and beyond.
She was not bigger than my fist, still is; and she used all the length and width of her two front legs to hold my two fingers. She was drowned in the cleavage of my breasts, as I walked back to where Sheilla held back the other cats from following me to the middle of that empty street, as the speeding car passed by as if a legion of satan were hanging on its back.
There was nothing from her all the way across town, as we finished our tour of duty, bringing hope and life in each of the pouches we poured down at the changing of the day: in the parks, along residentials, through the markets, and bare parking lots.
There were none of her but silence, so that we had to peek inside our jacket now and again, just to be sure she was still there.
And all we can find was two beads of round eyes looking back at us, sometimes sparkling by the moonlight.
At home she sat in the middle of the room, when swarms upon swarms of cats and kittens took turn with the sniffs and nudges. With little steps she walked around, to one nook and then another cranny; as if our house is hers all along, and she was only home from a long journey. She found the water bowl and the litter, she took a chunk larger than her jaw, but munch and tear like a grown lion.
She needs no hugs and childish voice. She took no cradle nor sweet lullaby. She chooses her own corner, and call one chapter of her life come to the end.
The next day she took her own food, slipping between the large and the chubby. Then she chose her litter box. She watched others play, she grooms herself and falls asleep swayed by the breeze through the day. When thirst comes by she walks her teeny weeny steps to the water bowl and quenches herself. In the silence of the shelter’s slumber she sat there, looking out the window, watching night birds and crickets and stars and the dark sky with two beads of round eye, sometimes glittering by the moonlight.
She is only eight weeks young, but she bays her life as if she was eight years old. She was too small for that park; that road, the fierceness in the world of strays, but she made her step, one after the other, all the way through the sidelines and pedestrian, until that fateful night when she tried to cross the street for a piece of hope and another day of life she could no longer get on her own side.
That such independence is now softened, that she now meows and complains a little, are ours to blame. We broke our heart and hold her often. We teach her to play with our fingers. We show her how to chase. We told her the joys of rolling on the sheets and made little tunnels warm and cozy to sleep.
That now she drapes herself on my neck or climbs my leg is mine to blame. I taught her the little things little cats do, I let her follow the footsteps of her peers, turning from little adult cat to little young cat that she should be.
That she now cuddles with the others when she sleeps and play pats and swats with the rest was ours to blame. That she now enjoys bigger cats grooming her was our undoing.
We broke our heart watching an eight weeks kitten forced to grow so fast she lives like eight years old, so we unbreak our heart sending her back to the world where she should be. Loved, protected, cherished.
That now she runs from one end to the other and trips over her own feet, that she chases the ball and tries to wreck her sheet. That she finds her own food but still asks to be fed, that she takes the best of both world where she has been are our undoing.
Our only virtue is that we gave her a name to tell her bidding day by day. The name she loves so much she ran toward us whenever we call it through the day.