The sun was still asleep, when I first heard the noise. My whole body resented the sound that pierced the blanket of silence covering the room. I snuggled even deeper under my sheet, praying it would pass by. I lay motionless, still and calm, yet fully awake. My senses were already alert; I could feel the folds of the sheet brush against my arm, I was keenly aware of the slight buzz of the air conditioner. I realised that I was awoken by a persistent scraping, someone methodically clawing away at my door. The rhythm was primal. I could feel his claws growing sharper with every stroke, his craving growing wild.
My cat clearly was not going to stop until I opened the door.
Though I was irritated, his determination amazed me; he worked with such intent, he fought with such commitment. He would not be contained by any door, cage or lock. He was destined to be free, to prowl the open plains or my tiny bed, as he pleased. He demanded the right to what was rightfully his, to have the opportunity to explore, to play. And if in any way he found he was suppressed, or denied this inherent desire, he would surely fight. And fight he did, vigorously and continuously; like many of our own freedom fighters, he made his voice heard.
I threw back the covers sluggishly, and placed my feet gently on the cold floor. My only objective was to stop the scraping, and I headed straight for the door. His excitement at sensing that I had got up from the bed, made him scratch even faster. He was so close to overthrowing his oppressor, the one who had denied him his rightful kingdom, who had suppressed him for so long.
The door opened to reveal the freedom fighter. He looked me dead in the eye, announced his presence with a regal purr and with great pomp strolled into my room. The veil lifted, his eyes danced around the scenery that he now beheld. A new world of opportunities at his disposal and the freedom to explore as he wished. His presence grew larger and in some strange way he seemed to dwarf me. It was apparent to me, that any chance of going back to bed were now drowned by what was going to take place here.
I could see it in my head, my papers flying around, my laptop becoming his bed, my desk his canvas and he the artist. I waited for the carnage to unfold before my eyes. But he placed his paw in front of him, and in a grand sweeping motion, with a great deal of elaborate effort, he stretched, twisted his body and in the twinkling of an eye, he had curled into a ball of fur.
And so, the chaotic scenes that I had foreseen and had dreaded so much, did not occur. Now I knew cats were beyond reason, I knew they were illogical, but I had not expected this. He had devoted so much energy and time into getting me to open the door. He had persevered and attained his noble goal, and yet when his prized possession was close enough for him to reach out and touch, he seemed to have lost all sense of direction, motivation and drive.
Was he overwhelmed? I don't think so. As he slowly shut his eyes preparing for a nap, I couldn't help but feel enraged. He was given unlimited freedom, immense power and control, access to everything and yet he just lay down on the floor. Is this what he worked so tirelessly for? What pushed me over the edge however, was the shade of content on his grey face, a sense of accomplishment.
Freedom is distracting. It can throw you astray and make you settle for the mundane. There was once a time when the truth was ripped apart, thrown into piles and burnt. A time when freedom came at a price. We are distracted to an extent that the truths we fight for, are just not as interesting as the lies we choose to see.
We may seem privileged, but perhaps it also comes with a curse. Every day we are presented with countless opportunities to understand and to explore, yet we are satisfied with just resting on our laurels. We fail to utilise the blessings of the modern day.
After much effort, the door is now open, the possibilities are endless, but we prefer to lie down and laze, content with just stretching out and curling into our own little fur balls.
- by Paul Immanuel (Thambu)
Also by Thambu on The Overbridge: