Nobody knows


Child in arms (1 of 1) Child on shoulders 2 (1 of 1)I’ve been thinking about a kitten.

The other day in the middle of the two lane road I walk down to work I saw an animal, white and red fur. As I walked it came into view. A kitten just large enough to cup in my hand. Its face turned away, one shoulder mashed into the pavement, the other twitching and unnaturally bright red. It made no sound. The kitten’s shoulder and grey tipped tail only shuddered. I thought to go into the road to break its neck, but I walked past. Soon a city bus powered past me up the hill. I turned round. The bus stopped just before where that kitten lay and when the second lane was clear drove in a wide arc around the kitten, now even smaller from my place down the hill.

On the way home for lunch I scanned that road as I walked against the incline. The kitten was gone. There was no carcus. There was no blood. There was no discoloration in the pavement to say that kitten had died there.

I imagine that kitten’s perspective. Low to the ground. Weeks old. The whole world a city block. Play. Pain, immobility, noise, the burning black pavement.

Yet the bus stopped. Can you imagine?



Homeless and mentally ill

14 Comments on “Nobody knows

  1. This reminds me of when I came across a cat nearing death after being run down. I ran to the lane and brought it to the roadside and just held it as it shivered. Like a crazy person I cooed at it to comfort it as it stared at me. And when it died moments later, all I could do was put it on a grass patch and walk away. Some people were staring, so I felt embarrassed when I realised what I just did. This was maybe about ten years ago.


  2. How sad! I don’t like cats but I wouldn’t want to see one suffer. 😦 Poor thing.


  3. The world is full of small terrible happenings, I sometimes think, Steven; and how the kitten got to be there was one of them … And then someone must have found the courage (or whatever it took) to remove it. I don’t understand why there was no sign it had been there; although I do know the Japanese to be intensely clean people …
    That looks very much like you, holding the adorable little girl …


    • The more terrible thing is that we all start off young, cute, and poised for possibility. When tragedy hits the young it pains us. When it hits the older we turn away. Between those two reactions is a diffusion of responsibility away from ourselves: Someone else will fix it.

      And yet the bus stopped — or I stop to take a picture, or another holds the thought in their mind after to talk or to argue.

      And from that others perspective how must we all look?


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