To start things off, I will begin with: I was never yelled at.
I know, I don’t understand it either. The other women at church used to tease my mother lightly that the worst I would get when I misbehaved was a “ah-ah-ah” and a metronome finger.
Due to never hearing a loud noise until kindergarten, I remember being ultra sensitive to any kind of raised voices, angry looks, etc. At one point, I hid in my best friend’s closet while she was being yelled at until her parents had to come and extricate me.
And this is where that memory was born.
I was coming home from that same best friend’s house. She lived two doors down from me, which made me the luckiest girl in the world because I could play with my best friend any time I wanted to. It had to have either been winter vacation, or a Saturday.
The way I remember the light, you see.
It wasn’t a glaring summer sun, although it was the middle of the day.
I spotted my neighbors cat under the shrub of the house between mine and my best friend’s.
I loved animals.
My parents wouldn’t let me have a pet, but I wanted one so bad. I was going to catch this cat and pet it for a while, assuaging the wanting for a minute or two.
I crept. I tiptoed. Ok, screw this sneaking… I’m going to catch this cat!
I ran up the sidewalk as the cat bolted out from under the shrub, across the street toward it’s house and safety.
There was two cars presently driving up my usually pretty untravelled road, the first one clipped the cat’s rear end.
Almost 25 years later, I can still see the cat’s back side swerving back and forth like a stock car about to hit a wall as it scrambled the rest of the way across the street, under a gate and then gone.
As I stood on the curb open mouthed, the second car screeched to a halt. (The car that had hit the cat had just kept on going)
I recognized the dark SUV as belonging to my neighbor from across the street, and when she flew out of the driver’s seat, I recognized the woman as the owner of the cat.
I knew her vaguely. She had two older boys, so I didn’t know her well.
She ran over to me and raged that I had killed her cat, and how dare I chase her cat into the street, and… honestly it’s all a swirl of colors and sounds, what she actually said. I waited for her to finish, interjecting apologies as tears threatened my eyes. When she left me, aghast on the curb, I ran home and locked myself into the den. I cried for hours and refused to come out. My mom only found out when the lady came over to inform us that the cat was okay and she would not be calling the police.
I didn’t give a crap about the police… take me to jail! I’m a cat murderer!
I just wanted to pet the damn thing.
Well, you know… I never touched another frickin’ one of her cats again.