this is the sound

It was raining when I woke up today. It hasn’t rained for quite a while, so you can guess how happy I was at that fact. So much so that I guess “waking up” wouldn’t be the proper term, since I went back to sleep pretty much nearly instantly. Curled up and drifted away once again.

Was 1 in the afternoon when I finally got myself out of bed. Staggered out into the living room and sat down in front of the TV, watching some Olympics highlights while I slowly acclimated myself to being awake. Offhand, my mother tells me that a kitten died outside the house and that she can’t bear to throw away the corpse. She can’t even look at it.

Enlists the help of my dad, who’s a man. And men aren’t supposed to feel that way. Men are supposed to be strong and shit. Body disposed with little fuss. Back to normal, life moves on, where’s lunch? I retreat to my room and fire up this computer of mine. Time to surf the ‘Net and listen to music. Check Facebook. Gmail. MySpace. Flickr. The usual bollocks. Settle in for an uneventful day.

Or so I thought.

My room’s the closest room to the spot where the kitten died (unless someone happens to be sitting at the very front of the living room, something which doesn’t happen too often) and so, as I whiled away the hours before class, I kept hearing the kitten’s mother and its sibling crying out for it. Mourning it. Their cries occasionally sounded almost human-like, and during the moments where I forgot what it was that was making those noises, I asked aloud (to, as always, no-one in particular): “whose baby is that?”. Then I would invariably remember that, no, those sounds aren’t coming from a baby’s mouth.

If I am allowed to be poetic and perhaps a bit maudlin: those cries, they pierced my soul. I tried not to let them get to me, but they did. Hard not to.

Fast forward a few hours—past spending some time at college waiting for a lecturer that didn’t show up—and I found myself at Burger King with my dad, meeting a man about a camera. Nothing of note happened. But when we arrived back home and I was closing the gate and locking up, I saw a (very cute, may I add) kitten sneak past me and head to a spot under the mango tree in front of our house. There was another, larger cat at that same exact spot, and she was sniffing at the ground, looking around and crying out for, as it soon dawned on me, her lost kitten. The aforementioned kitten joined in as well: crying out, mourning a lost sibling.

Or perhaps crying out for it to come back. Trying to find it, or perhaps trying to let it know where they were in the hope that it would be able find them.

They continued sniffing at the spot—I cannot think of a suitably poetic sentence to accompany this statement, namely a sentence that starts out “as if they were . . .”—and lamenting their lost family member. And I stood there watching over the metal gate, and I could feel my heartstrings being pulled. No, I wasn’t going to cry, but I will admit that my eyes watered up a bit. And, while this may be my imagination, they then turned their gaze to me. In the night, even with light pollution from a nearby fluorescent light clouding my sight, I could see their eyes. Or, at least, I think I could.

And I could feel the pain. I wanted to cry, as I haven’t cried in a long time and I thought it might feel good, but I couldn’t. After all, boys don’t cry. At least, not about supposedly inconsequential things, and especially not when their seemingly manly father is nearby.

We humans like to say “he’s as cruel as an animal!” but, really now, who are the cruel ones? Who are the cold, unfeeling ones? The ones who care not if their offspring die, who care not if their child is drowning in near-freezing water, going about their business playing carnival sideshows like it was an ant drowning and not their own child? Who are the ones that abuse their own children, who burn them with cigarettes and whip them with belts? Who dump them in garbage bins and leave them in shopping complex parking lots?

We think we’re so high and mighty, we think we’re so much better than the animals just because we can think (or we think we can) and they can’t (or we think they can’t), just because we can speak and they can’t. You know, maybe we’re the real animals. Maybe then saying “he’s as cruel as an animal!” would be accurate.

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  1. Luk
    Aug 20, 2008 at 07:40

    This post reminds me of my missing cat =|

    And yeah, I guess we human don’t have the right to say something like “he’s as cruel as animals”. How can they be cruel if they love and protect their babies just like people do! sometimes better than people do.

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