‘The monks will look after him,’ I said.
Tears glistened in Tip’s eyes. ‘There are dogs there.’
‘And cats,’ I said, trying hard to justify our actions. ‘Brother is a big strong one, he’ll survive.’
‘He’ll go hungry.’
‘That’s not true. You know he catches birds and snakes -- well that’s what the previous owner told us when we moved into our new home.’
She lapsed into silence as I turned the car round. Brother was still sitting there looking lost. I drove away down the meandering country lane, past acres of green rice fields and rubber plantations.
Tip sniffed, chanted a prayer in Thai. I looked at her. She seemed lost too.
‘I’ve never done anything like this before,’ she said.
‘Nor me. And if Brother hadn’t started to stalk Little Girl, and been friends like he was with Boy, we’d have kept him.’
‘Boy is his...’
‘Yes, I know — “family”. But look, you’ve still got the scratches when he attacked Little Girl this morning. He hates her. You think we can keep guard all day, every day? No, he’ll be happier at the temple.’
Tip didn’t answer. We joined the ring-road heading towards Chiang Mai and I put the car into cruise mode. We had purchased Little Girl from the market so Boy could have a playmate. When I first held her, this tiny dappled kitten with searching blue eyes, she wouldn’t let go of me.
It was a bond I wouldn’t break.
At the time, I thought that Brother would leave with his previous owner, leaving us with Boy — now our half-Persian kitten -- but they didn’t want him. It was the start of some sleepless nights wondering if Little Girl would be safe. It couldn’t go on...
‘...Steve? Where are we?’
I looked around. ‘Dunno,’ I said. ‘I’m lost, too.’