I have been resting. Sleeping a lot, long conversations over Skype, strolling up and down the street my hotel's on with no particular agenda (I haven't gone any further - I need to rest more than I need to roam). Usually I'd describe things like the market, which is a cacophony of smells - the fried meats and vegetables and sweet fruits and garlands of flowers all mixing together, TVs and radios and the drone of motorcycles coming and going, and tiny plastic bags of spices hanging from the ceiling of little stalls.
But actually, I'm going to write about the kittens. I went walking down some residential side-streets, and it's somewhere in between the maze of houses that I found them.
There were two of them, a very tiny one that had white and brown and black patches, and a slightly older one with sort of tawny tiger stripes that was more cautious and streetwise. The little kitten peeked out first, but the big kitten was bolder and walked right up to me, sat between my feet, and looked up; when I bent down to pet it, the little one came out too, and promptly sat in my lap and fall asleep, and if I moved my hand away, would pick itself up and nuzzle its head back under my hand until I cradled and petted it again.
The bigger kitten startled easier; when a car or motorcycle drove by, it would twitch and leap out, and then warily make its way back until I had stroked its head for a while, then it would relax again. When two big dogs came by, it flattened itself against my leg, then leapt out and ran, but was the first one back. Once it hopped off my lap to go poke at a big ant that was crawling down the sidewalk - it would nose the ant, then jump back, nose the ant, jump back - and eventually came back and pawed at my knee until I picked it up.
I'm pretty sure they were both strays, since the dogs spooked them, they had no collar, their fur had never been cut, and the older kitten was skinnier and a little more straggly than a kitten that age ought to be. They were both pretty starved for love and attention, and I felt bad when they started purring, tiny vibrations against my hands that I couldn't hear, because I had no place to bring them back to, and can't take care of cats anyway. When I finally stood up (after most of the afternoon) and tried to put them down, the tiny one opened its mouth like it was wailing or mewing (it probably was, except I couldn't hear it).
I apologized, said goodbye again, and walked off. They tried to follow me for a good quarter-mile, ducking behind cars timidly and then running as fast as their little kitten legs could take them until they pushed up against my legs and hands again - and when I finally reached the busier section of the road they just sat there and looked at me for a long time. I'll probably never see them again, and I don't know what will happen to them; they might live, they might die - everything dies eventually - at least I gave them an afternoon of being somewhat protected and hopefully a little happy. I wish I could have fed them also, but I didn't have any food that was edible to cats. I don't know if they'd trust me if I went back - all I'm going to to in the end is leave them behind anyway; there's no way for me to take them in.
I think I have a soft spot towards strays because I sometimes feel like one myself. I'm thankful to the people who've given me these sorts of moments. And I hope that someday I'll be actually able to provide a home to others. But I guess that means I've got to find and settle into one myself, first.
Good thing I've got time for that.