I killed a cat on the way home last week.
A pickup truck was coming in the other direction.
As soon as it passed me, the cat darted across the road.
I was going slow already.
I hit the brakes.
It didn’t matter.
He was a big guy, all black, and very fluffy. Looked like a shadow with eyes.
I did a quick u-turn on the empty street, hit my flashers, and ran over to him.
He was still breathing as put my hand out to comfort him, but didn’t last long.
He didn’t cry.
I looked up in the direction he had been running; a house that resembled a well-worn and threadbare slipper.
There was a light on inside.
The porch didn’t seem like it would hold me.
Through the front door, I could see an older man in a bathrobe watching TV.
A silver-haired woman with bright eyes and glasses came to the door.
I asked her if she owned a black cat.
“A few!” She laughed, but then looked past me.
“Oh no.” She said.
“Yeah.” was all I could say.
She came out in her socks, and gently lifted the cat up from the stain on the pavement.
“I’m so sorry…” I said, I began to tear up.
“I told you, Spooky,” she admonished the cat, still warm in her arms. “I told you so many times…”
“I’m so so sorry.” I repeated.
The man called from the porch. “Spooky?”
“Yeap.” Replied the woman. “It’s too bad.”
She turned to me. “It’s not your fault. I just couldn’t keep him in, you know? Some cats just don’t take to bein’ indoors.”
The man, apparently ever practical, reappeared on the porch holding a garbage bag.
Their daughter came out, and took the bag from him.
She came out to us, smoothing Spooky’s fur down.
“I’m really glad you stopped and told us.” The elderly woman said.
“At least it was quick…” the daughter searched my eyes, it was a half question.
“Yes; very.” I reassured her. “I stayed with him until…”
She visibly relaxed. “Thank you for doing that.” She lifted him gently, closing his eyes. “A lot of people wouldn’a even stopped.”
They thanked me again, I apologized again, and they went back into the house, carefully cradling Spooky.
You were loved, Spooky.
I hope you know that.