for our angel Trish And Heinz Geidel
A friend wrote me an email after she read the story on Monday. She wishes that Monday will have a friend to play with so that she doesn’t have to be alone the whole day when I go to work.
A few days later I heard that she lost one of her beloved furry family: Tealca, after 14 years of life and brief illness. I tried the best I can to console her, though I know the loss of a beloved family is irreplaceable. I have lost many lives during my rescue years, but they have never become just number, no matter how short their time with me, so I can understand the enormous grief that befell her once she has to let go of Tealca.
Taking the decision to let go of someone so dear to you take enormous amount of courage, unimaginable strength, and fathomless love that not everyone would understand. I know some people will certainly ask and brought forth the moral rhetoric, and as the epic battle of ethical conduct goes, the animal were left in agony.
I do hope that sort of thing will not happen to my friend, though as my story with Monday went international, I do feel the sting of sceptic society in my action.
Among the very many comments expressing gladness that Monday survived, there are a few that question why didn’t I just stop the car right away, some goes into detail telling me to pretend the car was broken. Other readers sympathetically (and I am totally grateful of) explain that in the third world like Indonesia, and many other part in South East Asia, traffic can be very bad that you can’t get out from the car, much less stop the car right in the middle of the street, without creating a chain crash. Other reminded the commenter that I was in someone else’s car.
And I clearly admit I didn’t wrote that the former business associate (not my co-worker, he is an acquaintance of the new boss in my previous work that sometimes drop by to ask for help) do not like animal. He despise them.
But still, I share the guilt. I have that guilt because I can’t run fast enough, because I was being such a coward that I have to wait 30 minutes while I can just say that I have other business so I can’t be polite to my possible future boss, and until today I still can’t forgive myself for allowing such tragedy to happen that Monday was the only survivor of three that call out for help.
So I made another promise. I made another promise that the next time, whatever I do, whatever happened, when a kitten yells for help, I’ll jump out and help. Period.
And then God listen, again.
A few days after Tealca’s passing I was rushing to work, even though it’s still 5 something in the morning. The traffic was very bad and I was afraid I am going to be late. Yes, I got the job after I saved Monday, but it was at – quoting my new co-worker – the end of the world. There’s only one way leading to that industrial area, and it was so rural that the only thing you can find there is dying farming land, factories, gawker stall (that sells food made of who-knows-what) that most of the time stands up on top of garbage mound and endless bus and truck and flood.
I know it’s excruciating. Having to go out for work at 5 – 6 am and reach home no earlier than 8-9 pm, but I needed the money. After only one month resigning from my previous company I lost my confidence and faith that God will provide so I swallow whatever that comes next that spells like “income”. And it’s not only me. Numerous time, suppliers complained about the bad traffic and how much they loathe having to come over to the factory because they will spend endless time in a traffic jam only to go to one place.
So I stop one of the many bike taxis. In Bandung, it’s called “ojek”. It’s like taxi, but with motorcycle. There’s no meter, so you approach the rider, tell them where you want to go, and bargain your price. When you got deal, you ride on the back and they drive you to destination.
The one I got told me that the traffic is very bad, even though it’s still early, because there’s only one way to my working place, and offered to take a little short cut, but that’s through an old cemetery.
I laughed. If there’s some kind of evil spirit that still roam a cemetery on the sunrise, I hope it will be a visiting Edward Cullen, or some Casper who went home late.
However, since it’s cemetery, the road is rather empty, so it’s plain weird that some motorcycles in front of us abruptly turn to the left or the right, as if avoiding something.
When I peek through the shoulder of my rider, I saw a bright yellow, tiny kitten, jumped out from a small ravine straight to the street, calling out for his mother.
I keep my promise. The road is steeply climbing but I ask the motorcycle rider to pull over anyway. He replied to me in confusion, but I keep saying “pull over” until he did so five minutes ahead, thinking that I might dropped something because I look back all the time.
I grabbed the kitten, push him inside my bag and go to the side where he jumped out, in case he has sibling. A bad corpse-y smell erase my hope, and looking at the filthy kitten, I am sure someone must have throw him there, or he got lost long and far enough to see her mother.
And I am under pressure for being late to work.
So I brought the kitten to the factory. I always have kitten food in my bag so I feed her along the way, inside my bag, while riding at the back of a motorcycle, with my rider grinning because it seems like it’s a first time a passenger ask for a pull over to retrieve a street kitten.
Don’t try this stunt by yourself unless you are highly accustomed to.
The food trick worked. Little kitten fell asleep inside my bag so I can bring him in without a commotion, until my boss (that business associate that offer me a job in Monday’s story) neglect to see where’ he was going and sit on my bag in the meeting room.
The next is a bitter argue. He clearly stated that his factory is not a zoo and that I shouldn’t have smuggled an animal into a clean facility. I didn’t say much because I was worried about the kitten, so I only say that the kitten hasn’t done anything or anybody harm, not even a noise, and that if he didn’t like what I do then I have no objection to leave the company.
My bluff worked. It was a new factory, so that business associate need someone with experience, and I was the only one he knows that can speak Japanese and is available in such a short time. The other co-worker watch with their mouth open because no one dared to defy the director before.
When I brought the kitten home that night, I remembered my friend’s wish that Monday will have a friend, and I wrote her saying that God had listened to her prayer and that I wish I was granted the honour to name the small kitten Tealca.
Unfortunately, however, the friendship part didn’t work. Monday is a princess. Serene, demure, and gentle with everything. Tealca is like a burning sun. He jumps everywhere, run to every corner, drag Monday’s blanket away from her, ambush her while she was asleep, took her food, bite on her tail, and make Monday got a severe headache (I think so, from her face)
So Tealca stays outside my bedroom, while Monday stays in. But he didn’t want to give back Monday’s blanket (actually it’s mine T_T) and instead bring it with him. He made such a ruckus when I took the blanket away, that I finally relented and buy Monday a new blanket.
Perhaps, living as a stray for some time in a vast cemetery, away from loving care of a mother, made little Tealca a tough guy. Other kittens that I met along the way used to be meek, but Tealca is demanding. He yells for his food, he take what he wants, and he made clear he is well understood.
Of course, it might be that I personified the cats too much, but Tealca brings about a unique personality that is hard to ignore. He has his own way telling the others of his intention, unlike any cat who usually use their rubbing and kneading, but still, despite his “my way” persona, it’s still hard to resist him. He is like a compact version of Charlie.
One more thing: his favourite spot is the stove.
He likes to sleep in a used up frying pan (hence the title of this post, given his personality). The frying pan has been the only cooking utensil I have when I first move to Bandung (until a friend buy me a pot), and I still haven’t replace it even after Charlie use it as his toy and broke its handle.
So I put his blanket inside, and have him sleep there. Occasionally he will drag his blanket out and sleep on the floor, clawing any cat that pass by, regardless of their size.
While Tealca is busy frying us to the moon; Monday, is back to her peaceful days in my room, with her new blanket.
Some things are better left to their own devices.