The second saddest thing I have seen
I wake up early for work… This particular morning I had to begin teaching a lifeguarding class. I have never really done well in the mornings, and this one was no exception. In a daze, I got in my car and started it, and began making my way up the street, toward the highway.
After I crested the hill, I saw a figure lying in the street. It was the neighbor’s cat. Its body rested limp on the pavement, twisted and broken by the car that must have struck it the night before. I as I drove past, I caught a glimpse of its face, a grimace of shock and pain.
I do not even know these neighbors. I am sure I have seen them pick up their paper, or take out the trash once or twice, but I sleep at my house, and that is about it. They are probably nice enough people, their yard is maintained, and I know they have a kid or two.
At this hour, they are probably still sleeping. I wonder if they even noticed the cat had not come in for the night.
I slowed down as I passed. I contemplated moving the cat, throwing the body in a dumpster down at the end of the street.
What would be worse, finding the bloody, broken body in the street beyond the driveway, or wondering why the cat never came home one night? Is it better to know fate, or be left to wonder?
I wonder if the person who hit the cat cared. They did not stop, just left the evidence to be discovered. I do not know how old their kid is, but all the same, I imagined him coming outside to catch the school bus, and having his world crash around his shoulders.
Going to school is bad enough, having to face mortality beforehand seems unbearable.
Maybe the person driving the car cared too much. Maybe they were so upset and scared they could not take responsibility for the act. Maybe they could not resist the urge to flee. I wonder if they slept at all that night. Do people lose sleep over killing a housecat?
I did not move the cat. I bet the kid will lose sleep tonight.
This must be part of growing up, although the portion of me that craves the innocence and light of childhood says I should have moved the body.
On the other hand, is shielding someone from reality really doing them a service?
After all, I don’t even know these neighbors.