I still remember how you had put in your face through the backdoor one evening, with a “Miaow?” (“Do you have some food for me?”
I remember thinking why you chose us and where you found the courage to walk up to our doorstep, when you weren’t even sure of what kind of people we were. I remember wondering whether we could get attached to you the way we had got attached to the cat that had turned up last year, and that we had seen into its death.
Nevertheless, we gave you milk. We first gave you biscuits, but you didn’t touch them. So we gave you milk. And then, you turned up every day. Mummy started mixing powdered biscuits in your milk so that you would get some nourishment. And eventually, when we spotted two little bulges on either side of your tummy, we realized why you had desperately begged for food. We bought fried fish exclusively for you since we didn’t eat fish anymore. Every day, two meals of fried fish with rice. And the milk porridge in the morning. And cup cakes. You grew very fond of them. You started to put on weight, and mummy was so happy to see you looking healthier by the day.
We don’t know where you stayed. But you visited us every day, four times or more. You were tall, unlike any other cat I had seen. With a tiny face that easily fitted into my palm. I loved to cuddle you because you would purr in pleasure when I stroked your head, and you would try to rest your head on my palm. We would talk to you in varied tones, and you would respond in equally varied tones. I almost thought you would soon start conversing.
You feared the dogs badly. I remember how Milky and his friend barked at you once and you tried to run, frightened. You hid under the car and watched me shooing off Milky. And as Milky quietened down, I called you and you reluctantly sat by my side, your eyes still fearful. But you learned that you were safe with me and that I would chase away the dogs. One night, you called us and we opened the door to find you in the portico. You had never come at that hour, and you looked frightened. I could hear dogs barking and you screwed up your ears, all tensed and frightened. I sat with you for a long time, trying to comfort you, and you finally went away.
I once patted you while Milky was watching so that he would understand he was not supposed to hurt you. Milky never growled at you after the first time. He knew you belonged to us. But you were always frightened of the dogs.
We never really knew for sure if you had delivered your babies, but the lumps had disappeared and we assumed you had. And then suddenly, last week, mummy woke me up early in the morning and said to me, “Come fast and get your camera too. There is a surprise”. Mummy usually asks me to get my camera either when she spots the squirrel trying to nibble at the scrapings off the coconut shells or at the sight of some bird. But today, she sounded different. I hurried downstairs, not knowing what to expect. And who should I see, but you, with your beautiful babies. Two of them. Bonny and so beautiful. A replica of you. “All our feeding you has finally shown on your babies”, Mummy said to you. Your kids were naughty and all over the place. And you were trying hard to shepherd them, to keep them safe.
That evening was the last we saw of you. We never saw you again. Nor your kids. We knew the worst had happened, but we didn’t want to believe that. And today, mummy saw what may be your remains. A dog was carrying some body part of what was once you. So much for life.
I don’t know what has happened to your children. I don’t know if they are waiting for you to come back. I don’t even know if they are alive.
What I do know is that life is so fragile. Like a soap bubble.
“Give me words. Their warmth and their strength. That is all I ask for. Words are all I need to comfort the bleeding wounds of my soul”.