It’s the second day I wake up late and I cannot forgive myself. Cats are dying on the street and at home, and they can only count on a few, if not just one. It’s holiday season, the first festivities we can celebrate in relative freedom after two years stall on life during lock downs.
But just like we cannot see our enemy, even though we are sleeping with them, the cats wouldn’t know what struck them down but crippling pain as they try to move, and devastating sting when they try to eat. The cannot smell anymore, the mucus is too thick, they cannot see anymore, their eyes are sticky.
And here I am, their only hope, the one they made themselves move to – crawl, slither if need be – so that they can find safety and live a little longer, fallen into restless sleep twenty minutes more.
So, let’s take that shortcut. Two miles strip of a road laced with stalls and food carts with two rather large mosques, also the place where countless cats, kittens, babies, seniors were thrown away, crushed by vehicles, beaten up, kicked, forcefully shooed away from their right to pursue happiness. Some even born there, suffer there, die there, long or short their life might be.
Heck happiness, they are even denied their right to live.
And I saw her, paralyzed from the hip down, dragging herself crossing that two lane street.
She only wanted to drink. No seriously. She didn’t care about pain, she didn’t care about her legs, she didn’t care about the mud spattered all over her face when those arrogant self-called “image of God” just pass over the potholes in their cocky fancy vehicles. I mean vehicles: expensive cars and sport motorcycles that can buy half a small house.
If there is anything that can make me love this country, I can ask any public transport to stop anywhere anytime. These drivers won’t care if a chain crash as they stop would throw them to the moon.
I jumped down and ran. Run. Run! I was exhausted. I walked like a snail but I need to run. Run before some idiot saw that empty road and speed up, pretending they are some sort of cool racer.
She looked at me. There was no horror in her face. There was no vengeance.
There was only the face of a helpless cat wishing someone can listen her silent whisper and get her some water. Some water from that deep sewer that trickled way below.
I picked her up but she cannot drink those tears that started to flow uncontrollably down my cheeks. Allowing her to do so will only make her more thirsty.
So I carried her to the main road and stopped a taxi. Not just any taxi, The Blue Bird. They are trained to be five star drivers and although one of their codes are no animals allowed, most of them turned blind eyes if their passenger packed up their pets with them, so long as the pet stays in the carrier.
The one who picked me up saw how horrible the cat looked under her hip when he jumped out to open the door for me (it’s one other of their codes) and keep comments for himself.
I can see his eyes mellowed, though, and I am glad for his compassion. There is always one or two of the pack who would “stick to their codes” using their companies to hide their wicked dry heart.
He asked me if I would like a ride to the nearest vet, but it’s six something a.m. and the whole town is still in hangover.
So we rode home and I lay her on dry, warm towel I pulled out from the dryer. Then not water I gave, but milk. Diluted milk and a little bit of honey. I gave her minced chicken mixed with egg yolk.
She looked at me, with those kindly round eyes, but if I look back at her and try to speak I’d be croaky and cry. So I just pushed her bowl a little bit closer, and look at her crushed leg, almost rotten.
Like who cares if I wake my vet in the morning, right? If she is still asleep she can see when she wakes.
But she woke and she responded immediately with instructions of what I should do. Prescribing antibiotics online, pain killers, immune support.
She asked what time I would be at the clinic, and see her first time in the morning when I carried the lady cat in.
She did what she can, and my new baby looks fresher, stronger, much, much better when she sent us home.
But that’s about it, because I don’t have the money to pay for yet another surgery.
Croaky and teary, I had to look at her. “There was a man with a pet lamb and a pet trout once walked the earth” I whispered to her as we wait for transport. “A stupid priest fried his trout and hungry workmen slaughtered his lamb”.
There was no anger in those eyes, there was no sadness. Only kindness.
Our transport came then. So we went in and as I lay her on my lap, I told her:
“The pet lamb is called Martinello, and the pet trout is named Antonella”
“A priest saw Antonella, caught her, and fried her, and when the man’s friar asked for it back, the priest threw the cooked fish and it shattered to pieces”
“So the friar picked up all the piece into his hand, and this man, looked to heaven and said, ‘Antonella, in the name of Charity, return to life.’”
“And the trout swam joyously again, in one piece”
The cat looked back at me. There was no horror in her face. There was no vengeance.
“I have no such gift, Antonella” I told her,”But I am going to give his Trout’s name to you and invoke his name so that in the name of Charity, he will bring you back to life”
But the rest of the way, the only thing I can say was “I am sorry”
I am sorry.