Sometimes, you have to leave it all. Let it all drawn so you can touch rock at the bottom; find silence; get ‘me’ time; eat, pray, love; or whatever many ways to say it.
But my escape from all day at work and all night with Grey, is another guy who withstands the misery of living on a strip of a merciless street, with a twisted leg that hangs loosely on what used to be his knee. Long enough until he found us.
He’d look at me with his big round eyes. Eyes that know no pain and no despair. He’d meow at me with his loud voice; the voice that knows no hopelessness, and he’d do his best, limping with that dangling leg that started to rot, for a pat on the head, for a warm hello, for a smile, at least.
He doesn’t seem to care that I’d talk to him with my utmost regret that I haven’t got the means to help him. He doesn’t seem to care about the kick of guilt that kept thumping on my stomach, the sense of helplessness that punch me on the face.
He cared about getting that pat and hug and cuddle, and sniffs, and two cheeks to lick; and then he’d limp back to his empty bowl and look at me, this time with a silent, yet clear message that I’d need to start my next job.
Filling his plate with delicious food he’d never thought existed before, washing his water bowl and refilling it with fresh mountain water that’s heaven to earth different from the puddle that quenched his thirst all the time in the past.
And then either myself or my partner will keep him company until he had enough, drifted into slumber, so we can both take care of the shelter; sneaking back out of the house as soon as we’re done to deliver to those who hide under the shades around town; waiting for salvation.
Never will we hear the whole story about what happened. Never there will be Sherlock Holmes or the like, who will tell us who was the culprit. Never will there be an explanation, which is no longer necessary.
Because what matters is those two round eyes, loud welcome meow, and persistent demand for pats on the head, and cuddles, and sniffs, and kisses. What matters is accepting that unfortunate past, take the best out of it, and toward better days. Days when he no longer has to drag that dangling rotting leg. Days when his love is reciprocated, and his life reverberates, far, far into the future.
What matters is not a lost leg. What matters is his perseverance, tenacity, courage, and hope.
What matters is him: Bara (pronounced Bar-ah); and the soul that bursts with life and spirit, just like his name means in our language: Flame.