At precisely 9.45 am, Nia left her home. She walked across the crossroad to the bus stop. The lone bus operating on this route was scheduled to arrive in fifteen minutes. Nia spent it in observing her surroundings.
It was a grey morning. The sun was diving in the heavy clouds on the other side of the hill that flanked her village. The four houses at this cross stood so quiet she could hear the wild laughter of Madam Braganza, the owner of the bakery down the street. Swift winds brought the scent of the fresh fruit-bread- the Tuesday special.
But the saliva pooling in Nia’s mouth dried up when she saw a few villagers, entering the cross, stopping in their tracks. Nia eyed them glumly as they sneered back. Then, as if they couldn’t stand her, they strode away, whispering amongst themselves.
They hate me. Everyone in this neighborhood hates me. Like a ritual, they avoid me.
But she didn’t blame them— if a day began with a black and white cat crossing the road, it could do that to anyone. However, that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt or irritate her.
She hissed at them— how am I supposed to get to the stop without crossing the street! You try doing that…you self-centred, egomaniacal beings.
Since no one paid any heed to her, she contemplated yet again on moving her shelter to this side of the intersection. But the reason she never did, barked loudly behind her. Jira, the pet dog of the family on this side, detested her. The only time the collared idiot ever barked was when he saw her. Nia glowered at him too.
She was tired of the humans who never understood her, of the dog who never understood his purpose. And while she wallowed in self-pity, the bus neared her stop. She perked up. Standing on her toes, she searched the windows for her friend – the only human who liked her. The bus sailed past, and Nia waited for the fish chips he dropped for her. But they never came.
So, she chased the bus on her three legs and peered on the other side. Because she couldn’t find the red cap, she meowed loudly to get the kid’s attention— the smiling face was nowhere. Nia frantically switched lanes to get a better view. Then she came to a sudden stop as the bus speeded away.
Where is he? Dear Lord, where is he? Did I enrage him? Does he dislike me too? NO, NO, NO.
She paced madly. Thinking the cat had lost its mind and was living its last days, villagers gathered around her. Before they could capture her, Nia slowly backed away. Her sinking heart beat loudly with fear. Just as she picked her pace, her back slammed into something. She squeaked and turned around. The red cap smiled at her.
He gently picked her into the basket of his red bicycle and trotted away.
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