The Jailbird and The Hungry Kitten

Hitchhiking in Siberia, I would often come across released jailbirds on the road. They usually have no money, so the only way for them to get back home is to hitchhike. They are not really dangerous for hitchhikers, I would say even the opposite. Once one released jailbird helped me to get a ride when I was stuck in the middle of nowhere in -30ยฐC. I can’t explain this, but criminals have some kind of special respect for hitchhikers. Many times I would find myself in a car with some gangsters, who were eager to help me, or would offer me food and drinks.

This story took place in a cafe when I was on my way from Ulan-Ude to Irkutsk. We were given a lift by a Kamaz truck driver. It was around 4 PM when we stopped at the rest area and went in the roadside cafe to have dinner. There were not many customers. We ordered our dishes and tea, and I went to wash my hands. When I was washing my hands, a 40-45 years old man came in. He wore big black glasses and a fur hat. Upon seeing me, he said some words in Georgian. “Gamarjoba. Genatsvale.” “Psycho,” I thought of him. But later, seeing the tattoos on his hands I realized that he was not a psycho at all, but a jailbird, just released. 

Our orders were on the table already and we were about to start eating, when his wife and son came in with some friends. They bought a bottle of vodka and smoked fish. One of the friends opened the bottle and filled the glasses.
“Well, son! Let’s drink to our meeting!! You were waiting so long, and here I am now,” said the jailbird, and as he finished his speech, they emptied their glasses.
“Yeah, finally I met you,” the son replied.
“How long I haven’t seen you?”
“You were away for quite a long time,” said the wife.
“Shut the fuck up, you bitch! I’m not talking you!” The man shouted on her. Then turned to his son.
“How long?” His voice was calm and soft now.
“It’s been five years.” There was sadness in the voice of the son.

“Meow, meow, meow.”

There was a little kitten in the cafe. The jailbird, once he noticed the animal, jumped out of his place and came closer to the kitten. He took it into his hands, saying “Oh, you poor little kitty. Are you hungry? Hungry, my little? Don’t worry, I will ask them to cut off the fish’s head and then I’ll feed you. Don’t worry, my little.”

As we were done with our dinner and we had to leave, I can’t say what was the end of the relationship between the jailbird and the kitten. But later, sitting in the truck I couldn’t forget the scene in the cafe. And I couldn’t understand how the jailbird could be so rude to his wife and so nice to the hungry kitten. He who probably killed someone, showed such a deep love for the animal.

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12 thoughts on “The Jailbird and The Hungry Kitten

  1. First of all, I am in total awe because some people, like yourself for example, can survive in -30ยฐC! I think I’ll freeze over once the temperature falls below 10ยฐC ๐Ÿ˜€

    It is quite strange indeed how the jailbird that you mention is particularly soft and gentle towards the kitten while extremely rude towards his wife. A man who spent such a long time away from his family would normally miss not only his son but his wife as well.

    I’m curious though … what’s your current location? Are you still traveling?

    • Well, after one year in Southeast Asia I can’t take even -5 now ๐Ÿ™‚

      You know what I think? Perhaps he loves his wife and missed her a lot, but being a released jailbird, he couldn’t be gentle towards his wife among his friends, who I suppose were criminals as well.. Don’t know.. I’m bad in psychology ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m now in St. Petersburg, Russia.. taking rest, then will hit the road again ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Oh, I think you have a point there. I read once that there are certain men who, when feeling belittled, put down, and like an underdog, they will treat a woman rudely to feel big inside. Maybe it’s something like that, specially since he has a criminal record and all; perhaps he has this feeling of inadequacy or something.

        You really have some very interesting tales to tell! Thank you for sharing them ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Great story. Can’t imagine how I would react in that type of situation… Probably would feel very uncomfortable… Thanks for sharing…

  3. Pingback: Hitchhiking Siberia: The Road Back, The Jailbird and The Kamaz Trucks « On The Road

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