At the very first days, every time we got home from work we have to go down on our knee and kiss the floor to find her. Her bright jade green eyes.

At the very first month, we can see her peeking from under the chair. Those round, jade green eyes are getting brighter. She’d hiss when we try to go near, but even her fiercest casting off spell put the biggest smile on our face.

At the very first of the second month we saw her at the last row of cats, every time we stand by the pot with a large spoon and tray in our hands. Aren’t those round, jade green eyes beautiful? It shines brighter as her white fur is thicker, cleaner, fluffier. Patches of dilute colors made her bloom like spring.

At the very first time she slipped between our legs to get access to our bedroom, we were overjoyed. The hissy fitter, the shy and outcast. Well, living alone loveless along a strip of filthy slum at the back of Paris Van Java; fight alone, live alone, sleep alone, run alone. It must be overwhelming to all of a sudden be surrounded by other cats.

Creeping onto our bed is like sneaking into heaven. One paw, very slowly, very gingerly, ears flipped to the back, nose sniffs fast, eyes screening around, then curl as small as she can at the furthest corner.

We left her for a few hours and when we peeked through the window, she was right in the middle splaying as wide as she can, sleeping like she has never been safe before.

She has never been safe before indeed.

If nothing changed, it’s that wound on her nose. We have been treating the wound meticulously, at the cost of our hand, chewed finger, scratched arm, kicked torso, spats and quite few claws on our faces. The wound dried well, then a scab fell off, but then the wound will still be there. We ask vets, made some call, seek advice; all said, as long as Dea functions normally, it might just be some persistent bacteria.

But months? and it’s creeping larger and larger, just like every day, Dea’s bond with us is closer and closer.

So come the time when we pick up a small box at the corner of our studio, and see if there’s any left for us. With every last dime we drove Dea to see one of the most senior veterinarians in our town, with a network that spans through the country, with one question.

The answer came with a name: Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

That day forward we live in another world. Best food for Dea, best supplements, best shirt for rainy day, best bed in the coolest spot for the hell hot day. Playing in the park, see the castle of clouds in the sky, running like crazy with fish in our hand and the whole shelter after us. Splaying wide at the center of the bed, watching the rain drops on the tiny turtle pond and guess how many circles the rain makes before it breaks at the very end.

There was silence, then, when we sat by the vet and Dea sleeping in peace in my arms, wrapped in her favorite blanket. There was nothing left but a large, rotting hole on her face. Her nose long gone, her cheek raw, and her mouth sore. Her upper jaw was red and inflamed.

The glory that is left, are those round, jade green eyes, ever brighter, always alive, always eager. The glory that had seen days in the sewer, the glory that had seen rotting garbage as food, the glory that knows kicks and shoo as the only interaction, the glory that has seen fear, hunger, pain, disease, death.

The glory that with all our might came to see soft bed, good food, fresh water, best medication. The glory that learns arms that cradle and hugs and kisses. The glory that has seen life, love, chance and hope.

The glory that we will not allow to be taken by anything, especially cancer.

One rain drop. Then two, three, and all of a sudden, so much we couldn’t see more than few feet in front of us; but we didn’t stop, we didn’t pull over. We took the peace offered between blasting thunder. We took the light given with every lightning, we took those tiny pin sized fingers running through our faces, wiping off our tears.

At the end of this storm there will be a rainbow, so we keep on riding, with Dea sleeping in our arms under our raincoat. At the end of this storm there will be a fluffy cloud opening its way with a ray of sunlight.

We will stop then, and see Dea with her round, jade green eyes, joining the stars in the sky.

~ 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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