Friday, August 17, 2007


Woman with Cats
11" x 17"
Pen and Ink on Paper

"Whitey! Browney! Huwag kayo lalayo. Kita niyo itong si Tong-tong oh. Tahimik lang. Huwag malikot!" (Whitey! Browney! Don't go too far. Look here at Tong-tong. He's just quiet. Don't be too playful!"


I call her the "Cat Lady".

Every night, when the hardware store downstairs would close shop, she'd be pushing her old and beaten cart in front of it and shuffle through her daily collection of plastic bottles, newspapers, cartons and an assortment of "things" she collects from other people's trash. I don't know her name. Never could.

I once tried to strike a conversation with her, and she just seemed to shrink away with her mousy eyes, small quivering hands and regarded me with suspicion.

Twice, I've heard her shrieking down the street from my window. During those instances, I saw her being taunted by the rest of the "cart people". Mostly it's of a territorial nature which happens with their lot. He who comes first, occupies that piece of sidewalk for the night. But there will be those who would persist in staking a claim by pushing the other parked cart off the pavement and unto the street.

"Sir, kung meron kayong mga plastik PET ha, akin na lang po ha?." (If you've any plastic PET bottles, let me have them ha?) And with
that request I have made a silent pact with her that she gets first picking of my trash - plastic bottles, old papers, boxes.

"Tignan ninyo si Tong-Tong ser. Kaya niyang tumayo sa dalawang paa." (Look at Tong-Tong. He can stand on two feet.)

One of her kittens, a white furry creature with grey stripes and a green plastic leash loosely wound round it's neck was purring softly at her feet. She picks it up and starts to whisper into its ear. She places Tong-Tong down again and snapped her fingers. To this command, Tong-Tong stood up on his hind legs and started to reach with his forepaws at a piece of fish she was dangling.

I smiled.

It's quite a wonder seeing the Cat Lady with her tiny brood.


slim whale said...

glad you somehow try to connect with the cat lady. i always say every person has their own story to tell. and she's no exemption. try to talk to her more and let's see what comes out of it.

palma tayona said...

@ slim whale : we're now at a stage where i put aside the recyclables she could sell more of from my home trash.

oh, i found out she has a new black kitten with a big head and i heard her calling him "ser".

palma tayona said...

@intsik : waay guid problema to' sa akin.

okay, here's my problem though. i keep on being asked if so-and-so can link my blog to theirs. funny thing is, i have no idea how to link theirs to mine. boo-huhuhu

Anonymous said...

Funny how in every town there seem to be at least one cat lady. We have several here in fact, which would explain the sudden spike in our feline population...

I see you get your inspiration from ordinary street folks as well.

*sigh* I've all but lost my drawing mojo...

palma tayona said...

I see you get your inspiration from ordinary street folks as well.

>> ah yes. and that's the beauty of this street where i live. people here, they're real. ;-)