It’s five-thirty a.m. and the taxi is sailing down Corso Europa at break neck speed. It’s still dark out and the summer air is cool but thick with humidity. As we whizz past the familiar shops and cafes I am still struck by the reality that this is my home. With a walnut sized lump in my throat I choke back the tears of what if. I barely slept as I clung to Stelle for what may be the very last time. I pray that it’s not.
In comparison to the previous summer’s 3 month vacation overseas, I will only be gone a month this time and I’m hopeful that Stelle will be strong enough to manage without me. She managed before and she has also managed to endear herself to Mama so I’m not too concerned that she will lack for any love or attention. But her cancer has advanced and there is no telling if she will start to suffer the consequences soon.
Stelle tucks her furry little head under my chin while she sleeps soundly sprawled across my chest. I can hear her purring and from time to time she stops abruptly because her airways seem to be blocked. I hold my breath and wish her to cough so that she can start breathing normal again.
In the light of day she will gingerly hop up on the dining room table much to Mama’s amusement. It seems that the best cross-breeze is exactly where she has situated herself in the center of the table. This is something new and I am thankful that Mama doesn’t seem to mind. She meows when her bowl is empty and she wants more food. She meows when she wants cuddles too. She knows that Mama is a soft spot and if there is raw meat around she will be sure sniff it out and come meowing for that too. Mama actually keeps a separate stash in the fridge just for her!