On a pitch dark rainy day, on a certain street,
5 cats were picked up by an old man from an antique shop.
They lived together with the old man from that day.
There were a lot of mysterious things in the old man’s house.
There was a battered book, a broken lamp and an old trunk that couldn’t be unlocked by any key…
Those things were all new things for the five cats but they were full of someone’s nostalgic essence.
That place became the warmest place in the world for the cats.
Those cats were of different colors but they all possessed similar sparkling shining eyes.
The docile brown cat loved to crawl into the old man’s top hat to sleep.
The striped cat threatened by puffing its tail whenever it chased the needle of the old watch.
The youngest white cat loved to swirl the umbrella around and around.
Whenever it found a well kept book, the calico cat, who loved to groom, would scratch it and then be scolded by the old man.
The lanky grey cat loved to chase the balls.
The five cats were all different but they their love for the old man’s hands that would stroke them nicely and gently were just the same. They also shared the same fondness for his impressive mustache that curled up.
On a cold rainy day, the old man went out for a walk as usual.
The cats crawled into the top hat and scratched the book like they usually do while waiting for the old man to be back.
But the old man didn’t come back that day.
The youngest white cat began to worry and looked out the window towards the rainy street, searching for the old man’s silhouette.
There were a lot of umbrellas twirling around out there. He felt that one of them must be the old man’s.
They were all hungry already and could no longer endure it!
The five cats then decided to go out and see the old man.
Passing through secret paths, they swiftly walked while chasing after the old man’s scent.
Sometimes, they would be chased for trespassing others territories.
The five cats walked closely and rapidly through the streets while reminding the youngest white cat not to get lost.
Later, the rain stopped and as if the cloud was trying to make its escape, the sky was smeared in orange.
The dark night fell in and the street became completely cold.
… Even so, the old man was nowhere to be seen.
The old man’s scent was everywhere around the street.
It was there along with the smell of tobacco on the bench under the ginkgo tree.
It was there along with the aroma of dinner in the back alley where the north wind slipped in.
… Yet, the old man was nowhere to be seen.
Quickly… quickly… quickly… quickly…
towards where the old man’s scent led them.
Sometimes, the whirlwind would blow, almost chasing away the old man’s scent but the stars of the night would flicker their lights, guiding their way.
… Even so, the old man was nowhere to be seen.
Quickly… quickly… quickly…
After walking for a few days, they reached a bus stop on an unknown street before they knew it.
That was where the old man’s scent ended but he was not there among the passengers waiting for the bus.
The 5 cats were already tired from walking so they decided to wait for the old man there.
They waited there for days.
… Even so, they still couldn’t meet the old man.
For days and days…
The five cats kept waiting for the old man.
Every time the bus came, the 5 cats became darker and soon were pitch black.
Even so, the 5 cats still waited for the old man.
After the countless stops, the bus arrived as the 5 cats were all in deep slumber and they were awakened by the old man’s dear voice.
“I’m sorry. I made you guys experience such lonely thoughts.”
The old man said that as he gently stroked the 5 cats that already turned pitch black.
The 5 cats were so happy and jumped at the old man.
“Finally, we met!”
They had already forgotten how long they waited for him. They were just too helplessly happy to see him.
And as they were held by the old man, the 5 cats boarded the bus for the first time together with the bus conductor and the other passengers.
The world they saw through the window was way higher to be compared to when they climbed on the garden wall and far too small to be compared to the view they saw from the rooftop.
Things we see for the first time will always seem sparkling and dazzling.
Other passengers in the bus were also beaming in happiness.
Then the old man calmly told them what happened during his absence.
“When one can no longer see the one he cherishes the most, that is the first time he’ll be aware of a thing that he had long forgotten.
With his precious thoughts still undelivered, there’s something that he must send no matter what before they’re separated.”
“That thing can be locked inside a broken lamp or a trunk that can’t be unlocked. Everyone has something precious from long ago that’s locked away…”
The five cats didn’t understand what the old man meant right away but they believed that it was an important thing.
As they looked down at the street that was growing further and smaller, the five cats thought this current place around them with the old man was their own world.
They had immediately forgotten about where they’re from and where they’re headed to though…
Not long after that,
5 black cats with sparkling shining eyes could sometimes be seen in a corner of the street.
The old man quit being an antique dealer and became the bus conductor. He is waiting for his most important person to come to the bus stop someday.
The black cats know.
They know about others’ sadness that the morning rain tries to hide.
They also know about others’ precious secrets that the night stars gossip about.
Although they sometimes forget about being black cats…
They will never forget about who the one they want to be around is.