I left work later than usual, stopped off at the bank and then went to my usual after work hang out only to find the parking lot packed. I took it as a sign that I should go home and eat pie so I took a circuitous route back to my apartment.
As I came down the street toward my building my headlights beamed on a woman standing in the middle of the road. I continued to drive and saw that she was hovering over a lump in the road. I swerved to pass her and caught a closer look. A cat had been hit by a car.
My heart leaped in my throat. Even though my cats are indoor pets I always assume they got out somehow. I am perpetually worried something tragic is going to happen to them, my little bundles of furry fluff who eat rent checks and sweaters and socks.
I parked my car and walked over to ask the woman if she needed help. I could see that this cat was dark gray and covered in blood. It was twitching, helpless, as the life leaked out of him. The woman’s friend had gone to retrieve the owner. Apparently they found the cat’s collar not far from the body and went to the apartment door. The owner walked with a cane and made slow progress towards his pet. I asked if there was anything I could do and then ran to my building to retrieve a snow shovel.
By the time I got back they had wrapped the cat in an old towel. The blood soaked through in parts. More people had gathered in a somber circle. We scooped the bundle up in the shovel and took it to their yard. I came back to my building, put the shovel away, ran up to my apartment and picked my cats up in a tight embrace.
Maybe I didn’t help that much but I’d like to believe that I arrived in time. That I was supposed to be there. While it was horrific to watch that poor cat die in the street, I walked away with a reaffirmed belief that people can be good. People don’t always pass on by. People do care.
We can help each other get through life if we just reach out a hand.