A few weeks ago my family and I were driving up Blue Hill Avenue. We took a left turn onto a narrow street with cars parked on both sides of the street.
Suddenly, my husband screams, “Oh, NO!” I feel the car lift slightly--we drove over something. “What was that?” I asked. “A cat,” my husband said. My daughter and son, traumatized, turned to look out the rear window; the cat was making an effort, using its hind legs, to crawl towards the curb.
We erupt with interrogation. “Why didn’t you stop?” “Didn’t you see the cat?” “Why didn’t you hit the brakes?” After the intense drilling, my husband says, “If I had suddenly hit the brakes, or swerved, we would have had an accident.”
We sat back quietly.
Now every time we drive down that street, we go silent. (We are very remorseful.) I can tell we are all thinking about the cat, wondering whether cats really have nine lives (and he was on his fifth), or if he crawled to the curb to die (once).
It reminds me of the many youth who die on our streets. If we are traumatized (re-playing the incident) each time we travel that same street where we hit the cat, how much more so for a boy who sees his best friend killed next to a playground bench.