Thursday, June 2, 2011
I thought I told everyone to watch out for the cat.
“He sleeps under your cars, under your tires, in the middle of the driveway.”
I left bright pink notes on steering wheels, called the yard man and cleaning lady, emailed the people who come now and then. Just yesterday I made notes for my daughter and her beau: “Washer fluid, emergency brake, Chippy.”
I lured him from under the cars for a brushing, a treat, a head rub, some love. He didn’t need much and was willing to come for those measly offerings. But then he went back to his place in the shade. Under the car, underfoot, under bushes and trees. He slept so deeply; he couldn’t hear anymore.
“We’re watching out for him,” they all said. “Quit reminding us.” But still I worried each time they went out and all the time they were away, until their cars were pulled in and the cat meowed deafly and I knew they were all safe.
Then last night, I drove home. I was talking on the phone. I had done something terrible, forwarded a hurtful email, and was trying to figure out how to make that okay. I absently looked down the driveway – for once there were no cars – and then I felt the bump. For one second I rolled on talking on about the incident and thinking what was that bump then I knew. And in the rear view mirror I saw my cat rolling in pain down the drive, then he stopped.
I”VE HIT THE F***ING CAT I screamed into the phone and ran to the door beating on the glass screaming DURHAM DURHAM I’VE HIT THE CAT trying to open the door and then screaming into the house again DURHAM DURHAM I’VE HIT CHIPPY COME HERE.
And we wrapped him in a towel putting him in the car speeding to the after hours vets. In no time – twenty minutes or less – he was dead, lungs collapsed and bleeding in his chest.
This morning I looked on the driveway for some sign, some mark, some blood, something that would show me this horrible thing that happened, but there’s nothing. Just the driveway, cool and white waiting for the heat of the day.