Nine Lives

FEU Advocate
September 28, 2022 17:01

By Beatrice Diane Bartolome

Mornings around Far Eastern University often leave your fingertips numb and warm puffs of air slipping past your lips, the ever-so-strong winds attempting but failing to knock down concrete buildings that hold so much history. Tiny paws carry a particularly rough-looking calico cat through a green campus and towards a bustling pavilion.

Different faces and wildly dissimilar lives, but they were all together to give life to a beautiful community of kindness. A kindness that this particular cat had been shown time and time again, regardless of her matted fur and hesitant nature. 

She could see that most of them were exhausted and sluggish, but they still had a smile when they saw her approach.

One particular student in white was slumped over an open textbook, their hair clipped up messily, as though they didn’t have any more time to waste on trivial things like their appearance. One of their legs was bouncing so much that even the stray could sense their ever-growing anxiety.

From what the Calico cat could see, the white plastic table was covered in paper, pens, an open laptop, and fractured dreams spread everywhere.

A quiet meow left her mouth, a warm body swiftly circling the legs of the unsuspecting student, paired with an affectionate rub of her round head. It didn’t always work but the cat figured that action as small as this could help the Tamaraw. 

“Hey there, lucky,” the student greeted her softly, a gentle smile on their face as they reached down to offer the Calico a piece of meat from the asadong siopao they were eating for breakfast. The cat happily accepted the offering, wrapping her body even closer to the student. The student couldn’t help but smile at the scene in front of them, a weight lifting off their shoulders.

“Thank you, lucky,” the student scratched her chin, a simple act of appreciation.

Lucky was one of the many names she’s been given over the years. She’s been called and known by an abundance of names—Moomin, Cat, Mingming, Cinnamon, Caesar Salad, Orange Juice, and other ridiculous but affectionate names. 

It’s a piece of them that stays with her while the rest of them leave to reach their dream.

A part of her heart broke at the predestined decision of being left behind—the inevitability of growth and change. So many stories have been left with her. Many tears, laughter, and stress were shared with the creature with the pointed ears and whiskery face. Yet, she stays.

Her home will always be inside these walls and lone grass fields, pink bean-like paws taking her to the same old places occupied with newer, younger faces. Some were bright-eyed and others were fading hearths, but they were all full of potential.

She had nine lives and she would gladly spend all of them being the little comfort these wide-eyed youth needed. Quietly, Lucky laid down at the student’s feet, lulled to sleep by the sound of a pen calmly writing on paper.

(Illustration by Helaena Cano/FEU Advocate)