Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Milk and Cat Food
The rain pattered down on what was just a few moments ago, just another cloudy day in the tropical island of Langkawi. Fortunately, Faiz brought with him an umbrella, since he foresaw that there was a possibility of rain from the cloudy weather they’ve been having as of late. “Prepare an umbrella before it rains” says the Malay adage. It’s always astounded Faiz how few Malay people take heed of this original Malay saying. To bring an umbrella while walking around was certainly not the Malaysian way of life. Faiz always prided himself in being somehow more than Malay, even though he’s never confided this to anyone, since he knew for certain that it would be met by unkind remarks from the people around him.
He liked the sound of rain droplets gently and distinctly falling upon his umbrella. He had gone out to purchase some prepaid for his phone. He needed to call his mother to update her on what had happened throughout the week. It’ll be the same old story, he knows, but her mother insists on her only son who has been posted in a whole different state to call her every weekend, and so he obliges. He didn’t like that he had to walk almost a whole kilometer from his residential flat area to get the prepaid though. The residential grocery store ran out of prepaid that day, and so he had to make the trek to the second nearest grocer in the town area. He hadn’t gotten enough money to invest in a motorcycle yet, and he hadn’t made too many friends to borrow anyone else’s motorcycle. Sure he didn’t have a license to drive motorbikes, but that’s hardly ever a factor here in Malaysia.
As he treaded along home on the side of the road, his chain of thought was broken by some tiny meowing. He looked around to find where it was coming from, and sure enough, he found a couple of small black and white kittens in a cardboard box near an electrical post. They were starting to get wet, which is why they sounded so distressed, surmised Faiz. He looked up and down the road to see if the person who left the kittens there were still around, but all he saw was the occasional car and motorcycle passing through.
He bended down to take a closer look at the kittens. They were really small, couldn’t be more than a month old, he thought, although he didn’t have that much experience with felines before. The kittens continued meowing as if they were crying for help, looking as if they could barely support their own weight. Faiz stuck out a finger to the kittens, and to his surprise, the kittens responded by licking it. Faiz could feel the coarseness of their tongues and reveled at how cute they were, breaking out in an audible “aww”.
Faiz decided to take the cats with him, since they looked like they needed the shelter. He didn’t need to worry about his housemates’ acceptance of the kittens just yet, since they were both out of the house, as they usually were on the weekends.
Faiz wasn’t able to keep the kittens’ meows down throughout the trip up to his rented apartment, but that didn’t seem to bother anyone he passed by, all of them oblivious to his existence, as they always had been.
As soon as Faiz entered his apartment, he went to his room to dry off the kittens with a rag and wondered if they might be hungry. He never really saw any cats eating in front of him. His only experience was watching cartoons of cats, and they always seemed to love drinking milk. He went to the fridge in the apartment and grabbed some milk to put in a bowl. Milk was a rare item in the average Malaysian household, but since it’s been a habit of his to always eat cereal for breakfast, milk was one of the must-have items for him.
As soon as he had finished pouring the milk into a bowl and picked it up to give to the kittens, he felt a tingling sensation on his toes. He looked down and was surprised to see that the kittens were licking his toenails. He heaved a sigh of relief that he hadn’t spilled the milk in his shock and placed the bowl down on the floor by the kittens.
The kittens didn’t seem to notice the bowl of milk and continued licking his toenails. Faiz picked the kittens up one by one and put them right beside the bowl, but the kittens stumbled their way to Faiz’s feet again and licked him. Faiz was scratching his head in confusion, wondering why they won’t drink the milk when one of the kittens bit his little toe. Faiz jumped up in shock and took a step back from the kittens. “Damn, you guys sure are feisty little fellas, aren’t you?” Faiz said aloud.
He decided to put them both back in their box in his room and locked the door so that he could go downstairs and buy some cat food from the the grocery store downstairs. He was relieved that they sold cat food, as he had no idea before that. It wasn’t too expensive too, thought Faiz as he went back upstairs.
When he opened the door, he was again surprised to see the two kittens waiting for him inside in the living room. He looked over to his room and saw that the door was open, although he could have sworn that he closed and locked it before going out. He went to the kitchen with the kittens following him, and with both of them licking his toes, he put some of the cat food into a bowl. This should do it, he thought to himself.
He placed the bowl of cat food on the floor beside the bowl of milk, and put the kittens right beside it, but as before, they walked nimbly back to Faiz’s feet. “Really? What do you guys want??” Faiz exclaimed. He put his hands to his head and thought about what to do with the kittens.
As he did this, one of the kittens bit down on Faiz’s toe, only this time, it was harder and caused Faiz’s little toe to bleed. Again Faiz jumped and felt like kicking the two kittens straight away. This was getting a bit much for him to handle. This was probably why they were left beside the road in the first place. Stupid cats biting me and whatnot.
He looked at the kittens again, and his jaw slowly dropped when he saw that the two kittens were licking up the blood that was on the floor because of the bite. He watched in horror as the two kittens finished what was on the floor and walked over to get more from his toe.
“What do we want?” Faiz heard a voice coming from behind. He turned around and saw nothing but the kitchen sink. “I’ll tell you what we want!” He turned back to look at the tiny black and white kittens. Were the kittens talking to him? “We just want to eat. That’s all!” He was now certain that the voice was coming from the back of his head, somehow. “Let us eat, just a little more?”
“I gave you food! There! Over there!” Faiz pointed towards the two bowls on the floor on the far side of the kitchen while backing up until his back was against the cabinet underneath the kitchen sink. He suddenly felt an enormous weight coming upon him and was unable to get up or even move.
“We don’t eat that, silly.” The voice in his head sounded as if it was smiling. The kittens were still staggering along their way to Faiz.
“Then, then what do you eat? I can get you some.” Faiz was already dreading the answer.
“You’ll find out soon enough.”
Rosli came into the house as late as he usually did and was a little taken aback that the door was unlocked. That good for nothing Faiz punya kerja la ni. Azman was spending the night at his parents’ house. He called for Faiz but got no reply. His door was open but Rosli could see no one inside. He stepped into Faiz’s room and wondered what two sound asleep kittens were doing in a box on the floor. Rosli went to the kitchen to get himself a glass of water and accidentally stepped on what seemed to be milk and cat food. “Bodo Faiz hang pi mana!?” Rosli exclaimed more to himself than anyone else, since Faiz was nowhere to be found inside the apartment.