Hot water and heat are luxury and most of this country is without.
My best friend, her father, and I sit on the balcony, wrapped in blankets, drinking hot coffee. Buildings feel stacked on top of one another, with only narrow streets and a slither of a sidewalk in between. One can see directly into the other's apartment and all their doings, habits, and annoyances and yet still exchange friendly hellos. This particular white-haired neighbor is complaining about his wife; she made him stop smoking and he has gained kilos and can barely fit on his motorcycle.
I can see the silhouette of a cat on a neighbor's balcony. This particular neighbor is a retired cop, with a very strict personality. He has a small, old gray dog he would often carry around.
Fate would have it - a kitten got trapped under the hood of his car. After hours of cursing, and enlisting the help of the neighborhood, the kitten was rescued. He grumpily muttered he would keep it until it “learned to walk” and then return it to the streets.
However, as days passed, he observed his dog eating again, and now has to walk him on a leash - the dog now runs like a puppy. It turns out the kitten’s playful presence was exactly what this dog needed - life returned.
Now, when we ask him how the kitten is doing, he smiles proudly “He’s huge! A big cat! The biggest of them all!” He speaks of his cat as if it were his first-born son.