Food, Cat and Lights Out

I can’t help not talking about hostel life right now. Coz you see, me? I’m not a very verbal, outgoing person. I would lie in my room all day messing about with my own stuff. Books, music, my phone. I’m too pre-occupied with my own matters to actually get up, go out in the common area and talk to a whole lot of girls about boys and classes and homework. I must admit, I need to mingle more, I really do. But at the end of the day, I just don’t.

Its nice to have a roommate like the one I have. She’s from Nepal, originally but currently from Kenya. When I was first allotted my room, she was in there with a friend. Actually the friend was sort of…living there, baggage and all. And so they were obviously reluctant to let me in. Our warden (who doesn’t understand English) told me to make whatever adjustments we possibly could. I’m so grateful my old friend was with me that day or I just might have compromised and ended up with a bad room. But at the end of it all, my roomie compromised and her friend had to shift out. I felt bad about it but I had been allotted the room, not her and so there was nothing we could do about it.

I’ve realized I need a lot of food. Often the mess food is like tasteless rubber (just the thought of it is upsetting!) and so I need to keep a stock of food inside. The other day, over crackers my roommate and I discovered we shared a common interest: food. So we placed the packet of crackers in the middle and simply dived into it, smiling at one another as we ate. We even talked. Yeah we really did. Now we share food whenever we have something we’re both in the room with and we never actually refuse, out of trivial reasons such as mere politeness. The day after that, we realized we listened to the same kinda music as well. It all started with me playing, ‘a little too late’ by Jojo and she sang along and then later there were more common songs we discovered…she will be loved, hey soul sister, I’m yours etc etc.

We have a cat on our floor. She’s a normal grey cat and when I first came in, everyone was talking about how pregnant she was. Curious, I began petting her tentatively. I’ve never had a pet of my own but I’ve always loved and played with a lot of dogs (neighbourhood). So I’ve never really had cat experiences but over the days, I’ve grown sort of attached to our hostel cat, whom I pet on my way to and from the washroom, the water cooler, a friend’s room, the mess… then a week or so ago, she was moaning a lot. She rubbed herself around and around my legs in the afternoon, purring in a soft, pleading voice. When I got back in the evening, she had given birth to four teeny-weeny little kittens who looked so weak and half dead. I love watching her take care of them. She would paw them all over, lick them, carry them around in her mouth and when they’re all asleep together… well let’s just say you’d wish you were small and sleeping with your own mum once more.

But my most divine experience with her came the other day when I was feeling so weak and unwell that I couldn’t move from my bed. The door was ajar and so our dear cat sneaked in, on the lookout as usual for an open cupboard to put her kittens in. She happened to spot the high ledge over the cupboards and so up she climbed but then began to moan coz she couldn’t come down. For a few moments, I watched her cry and didn’t know what to do but then I decided I’d rescue her. I put out a chair and went towards the door but by the time I came back, she was already down. She came up to me and I began massaging her with my legs. She simply laid down where she was and I suddenly thought of my own mum right after my kid brother had been born. I thought of how hard our cat works to keep her children alive and she has to do it all alone and for some reason I began to talk to her. I won’t tell you what I said to her, it was a lot of mushy stuff but by the time she moved out, I realized my weakness was gone. And not only that, some of the bad things that had made me grow morose had receded to the background too. I felt somewhat…liberated. And it is all God at work.

Its funny how I cannot exist without my mobile phone anymore. After the day’s wrapped up and one or two random girls are left studying in the hallway, I lie on my bed…usually upside down or turned whichever way and text away. My roommate does the same, that is on the nights she stays in.