Monday, December 01, 2014

The cat who wins our hearts

It was in September when the Yellow Cat came to stay with us. At first we called her Buffet because of her penchant to sit and sleep on Ja's working table. Later, we called her Gavroche, because she was a stray cat, we thought of her as a street-smart cat, just like Gavroche, the boy in Les Miserables.  But the Cat's elegant manners (she even refused to stoop down to the rudeness of the neighbor's dogs), her finesse and intelligence, indicated to us her superior upbringing as a cat. I used to tell Sean, the Cat’s openness to human conversations and her perceptiveness could not have been possible without a child’s love that once had nurtured it when the Cat was still a kitten. The Cat also wore a necklace, which told us she must have had an owner, although I kept asking myself why she finally came to live with us, if she had a home. Was she not loved enough in that other home? But this puzzle I merely took for granted, thinking, we were merely welcoming the cat, she was free to come, she was free to go, although, we loved it so much if she stayed with us.
What of its owner, Ma? Sean used to ask, to which I used to reply,  “The Cat owns her life, Sean, she is the real owner of herself.” So, we left our relationship with the Cat at that. She would arrive at close to midnight, meowmewing outside our door and either Ja or me would wake up to open the door. She would enter the living room, walking to and fro, telling us stories about what happened to her outside, and we would listen with keen interest, even if we don’t understand her cat language. Then, at 3 am or 5 am, the Cat would wake us up again, meowmeowing, asking us to open the door, hungry for the first stirring of life in the idle lot outside. For aside for her nightly prowl, the Cat had a voracious appetite for small things that move (including Ja's toes when Ja is sleeping).

But the cat suddenly stopped coming one day in November, shortly after my trip to the T'boli mining site and the Ampatuan massacre site. I sensed an air of finality only hours after the cat's failure to return, as if, something was amiss, something suddenly turned quiet. I never sensed such a deafening silence. Then, somewhere in my gut, I suddenly knew the cat is no longer coming back. Why? Whatever happened to this dear, dear cat?

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