Two cats sat in the window, watching the world go by. One had a white belly and gray stripes on her back, and the other one was a tabby. They were sisters, and always seemed to get along (until they didn’t…). Japan was in the background, always in the background, and it never bothered either cat.
The cats were called Mimi and Coco, but would answer — or not — to a lot of other names and sounds, the most common, at the intersection of a proper word and an interjection, being “pisica,” which means “cat” in Romanian, but when having its vowels half-silenced, could turn the head of any cat: pssssskaaa!
Mimi and Coco didn’t do much except for watching the world go by, unbothered — then sleep, eat, sleep some more, use the toilet, run around like crazy for a bit to celebrate using the toilet, and sleep again. They would also occasionally fight, sometimes in jest, sometimes in earnest (hard to tell), but their fights were short lived, as Mimi and Coco were over 50 in human years, so they didn’t have much time and energy to engage is silly shenanigans.
Mimi and Coco had been born in Japan but lived with two different types of non-Japanese humans, who spoke with them in three to four languages — not that they cared one bit. Sometimes when the original humans were away, others came by to look after them, speaking another one, two, or three different languages. The cats couldn’t care less, of course. All of these humans seemed to get along fairly well, too, in spite of their countries having weird historical bones to pick sometimes — naturally, the cats only cared about the chicken or fish bones they could steal from the garbage when people weren’t paying attention. The idea of country made no sense to them, and in fact it made little sense to at least one of the humans in the house, too — especially when “country” was invoked as a reason to kill or die.
It’s more complicated than that, you say; and I say maybe it shouldn’t be. I find it hard to imagine that borders still have meaning when I live my everyday life moving across several. You’ll say these that I’m talking about aren’t tangible, real borders. And the arbitrary lines written and rewritten on a map are?? I had thought (hoped?) globalisation would kill the national state. Alas, that makes me either an anarchist, or naive, I’m told. Perhaps both.
Mimi and Coco look at me over the edge of their high sofa next to the window. Japan is in the background, but it could have just as well been Romania or Moldova, the other two places that I’ve lived in, and which are so close to where the madness is these days. Mimi and Coco would have been unfased either way. Animals don’t have countries, except for when they fight in human wars. But that’s just dogs and horses, maybe some messenger pigeons. Cats are safe. Nothing bothers them. Be more like cats!
I have mixed feelings about the idea of fighting for one’s country, but for all it’s worth (and I know it’s not worth much), I too stand with Ukraine.