Binnie lived in a Highrise in the Mid Levels on Hong Kong Island. She spent her day at a picture window looking down on busy Bonham Road. She could see the green park and soccer field opposite. She could even see Hong Kong Harbour.
This small brown bundle of fur was born in a rubbish tin in Dubai. She had endeared herself to an Australian pilot working there. She eventually flew to Brisbane and a new life in the suburbs and her own patch of garden.
Then the pilot and his family moved to Hong Kong. Binnie was happy. . .but as she watched the black kites gliding high in the sky she also remembered her freedom and the soft green grass. A single black kite had caught the thermal in front of her. She told Binnie she too could have freedom and explore her new home. So Binnie hatched a plan.
Next morning she hid near the door and when the pilot's wife was helping young Tom with his school backpack, she was quickly outside and around to the rubbish shute room. She knew builders were working in Stanley's apartment next door from all the hammering. She waited. . .she could hear them talking. . .quick to the lift. They didn't notice her. On ground level she slid past the reception desk and out the open door to Bonham Road and freedom. The green park looked tempting. . .but the black kite was circling above. She must honour her pact. She was to visit the Man Mo Temple. . .her introduction to Hong Kong's history and culture.
She ran along Caine Road with a wistful glance at the green space of the children's playground, but kept up with the kite to Ladder Street. . .stairs went down further than she could see. She ran effortlessly but kept close to people at the two busy crossroads. She smelled the incense as she turned right into Hollywood Road. She had reached Man Mo Temple.
It was not like the Highrises. . .typical Chinese architecture, set back from the ornate fence. She walked through the open gate and entered the smokey interior. She found it hard to see. Man Mo Temple was a tribute to the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo). It was quiet and serene amid the colourful reds and golds. Incense coils hung like chandeliers from the ceiling, furniture was lacquered. Candles burned near Buddha statues. . .a brass carving of a hand holding a pen in front of the central altar took her eye. Binnie stood in time and history. . .a working temple with praying locals. But she couldn't stay. She had to be home before Tom's half day school finished.
She scooted up Ladder Street past heavy feet of locals and tourists. She had seen the sardine tins in front of some buildings. The black kite had told her kindly people leave food and water for Hong Kong's many feral cats. Binnie was grateful for a drink but she would never take another's food.
Back at the Highrise she waited for the builders. What if she saw the pilot's wife and young Tom first? But the builders came, lumbering under a huge sheet of timber. What was Stanley doing in his apartment? She slipped into the lift and was soon at No 14. Tom always talked about living on the 14th floor. Quick into the rubbish room until she heard her family. She snuck along the wall. . .and there was Tom waving a large painting in front of his Mum and excitedly chatting. Binnie slipped quietly in the door and into the kitchen. She reappeared in time for a loving pat.
Binnie was right for another adventure.