Written by Josie T Liem at the Whiskers Syndicate in Bandung, Indonesia
Following a job interview with a former co-worker, he offered to drive me halfway home, and I gladly joined him. He lives in an apartment downtown, in a legendary street called Braga which has endless row of hotels, pubs and other sorts of night entertainment. The location is surrounded by one-way roads, and since it’s the city center, the street and the surrounding areas are always dense, if not tightly packed. The problem started when I heard a kitten’s panicked meow.
From inside the car, I saw a box right at the lip of the heavy traffic at a bus shelter. At the side of the box I saw a white tiny kitten yelling endlessly in terror, calling for its mother. I hate that moment the most. I couldn’t jump out from the car, I couldn’t help the kitten and I couldn’t do anything to resolve the situation. The best I could muster was to go back to the bus station as soon as my associate dropped me off in front of the apartment building; and during that awfully long 30 minutes, I begged and prayed that God would take care of the kitten until I returned. When the car finally pulled over, I jumped out, politely declined his courtesy of a cup of tea, showed my sincere appreciation of his willingness to drive me all the way and hit the road. I told you that the area is surrounded by one way roads right? If I took public transportation, it would go around and take a long time, not to mention the traffic jam, so I put my bag onto my back and did what I always do when I need to act fast. I ran.
I ran against the flowing, honking, speeding, uncaring cars and motorcycles. My ears were filled with the sound of the kitten’s pleading, and I prayed Hail Mary out loud just to keep my mind focused while continuing to run against road flow. Half an hour later, I was panting right in front of the bus stop, but the box was gone. It was getting dark, and the only hope was the faint meow that I heard from the bushes behind the bus shelter, so I fell on my knees and started to crawl. To heck with people who think I’m crazy. This time, I am.
I got one. A tiny calico who had been yelling all along, and a lifeless tuxedo, just as tiny, not far away from her. I didn’t realize that all the while, a pair of eyes was watching me.When I finally cleared out the bush, and stood up with two kittens as big as the palm of my hand, my eyes met those of an old man. He just stood there, watching me in silence, and followed me with his eyes while I walked toward the box that I had seen earlier. The box was empty.
“There were three,” he said cautiously. The older Chinese generation in Bandung always tell us to be careful with strangers, so I looked at him, not saying anything, but I guess my eyes said it all. He pointed his finger toward the road behind me, where cars sped up like it’s the end of the world. In the road, I saw the remains of a kitten, a fleck of white with black spots, flattened to the road. It was at that time that the world stood still. At least my world.
“That one is also dead,” he said.
I looked back at the old man. He was pointing at the tiny tuxedo in my hand. The Calico was still crying loudly.
“He is too tired of yelling, and it’s cold.”
The old man was right. The tuxedo kitten was dead.
He nodded. I wanted to ask why he didn’t do anything, especially when the spotted kitten went over to the road, but my tears came instead. So I just stood there, looking at the white spot on the road. Every two seconds, a tire went on it like an iron on a cloth.
“I can’t walk fast, I am old,” said the man with a low voice. “I asked the parking guy to take the remaining kittens and the box under the bush so they won’t go over to the road.”
My speech hadn’t come back, and my tears were still falling, so I tried my best to smile, and nod.
“Thank you,” I whispered and I walked away. I saw a bus coming, and waved my hand to stop it; but as soon as the driver heard a kitten crying from inside my jacket, he closed the door in my face and went rushing off. I am not surprised. This has happened before. I didn’t have money to take a taxi home, so I just stood there, for who knows how long, waiting for the kitten to get tired and sleep. Then I took a bus ride home.
The new baby is called Monday. I want to keep her eyes shining. I want to keep those small breaths blowing, I want to keep her little step going, I want to see her make it through. I want her to know that because she asked, it will be given. Because she knocked, the door will be opened. That in one hour, two prayers went to heaven, and both were answered. One hour that changed the lives of two. One hour that will last forever.
More Beautiful Rescues
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