One of my cats died today. We’ll call her Rae. Her name is unique and would reveal my identity and Rae is the sound she made when she meowed. “Raerae. Rae Rae Rae.” she’s say. Such a small black kitty with a lot of “rae” to say.
When I let the big dog out to run this morning, he kept running toward the road in front of the house. He doesn’t normally run toward the road so I kept hollering at him. What Jonathan could see from the porch that I couldn’t see from down the hill was the that dog was running into the road, nosing Rae’s lifeless body, and running back to get me.
When I came up the hill I saw an animal in the road which had been hit by a car. The animal was clearly deceased. No wonder the dog was acting like a total weirdo. Oliver saw the dog nosing the animal and wanted to investigate thinking it was a possum. Possums aren’t black, I told Oliver, and walked into the road knowing in the pit of my gut from the ear shape it was a cat. It was my cat, Rae.
I’ll spare you the details, but Rae clearly died on impact. Her position indicated a car had swerved purposely to hit her. She was not thrown. Rae had never gone within 30ft of the road before. She was scared of the road and of cars. It was hard to imagine what could have lead Rae into the road. Being a black cat, the driver probably thought Rae was a skunk or possum. At least, it’s more comforting to believe someone would hit a skunk or possum intentionally than a small black cat.
“I think Rae got hit by a car.” I mutter to Jonathan down the driveway to keep Oliver from knowing at first. Jonathan tried to convince me that Rae was inside, but I knew she wasn’t. She didn’t come in at night or in the morning which was odd for Rae. I called her name through the house. Nothing. I cried in the garage knowing that I needed to get gloves and a bag to remove Rae from the road. Jonathan came in and grabbed a bag for Rae’s body.
“You’re going to need a shovel. She’s in pieces and I don’t want Oliver to see.”, I told him.
Hand over my mouth with tears streaming down my face, I told Oliver that Rae was the animal in the road. Oliver stared at me in shock, mouth agape, having never seen me cry before…not like this. Not the ugly, sobbing, cry with tears and snot and sound. Not the time I fractured my tail bone, not the time I fell down the stairs, not the time I blistered my hand on the oven. “I’m tough. I’ll be fine.”, I’d tell him. I don’t cry and here I was, moments before Oliver got on the school bus, ugly crying and being the opposite of tough. He was too shocked to speak.
Jonathan lead me away and hugged me tightly. I buried my tear drenched face in his jacket. The school bus arrived. I turned my back as Oliver got on the bus and the other kids exclaimed loudly about Rae’s dead body.
Jonathan scooped Rae from the road. Bare hands. No shovel. He placed her tiny limp body in a bag for protection and we made plans to bury her.
I fixed my makeup. I went to work. I sat at my desk and quietly experienced the withdrawal symptoms brought on by the pharmacy mistakenly refusing to refill my pain medication…quietly walked myself through telling Luke about Rae, quietly thought about all the things Rae would not be doing any more when I got home.
My God, today was horrible.