Dear Neighbors One Street Up,
About eight years ago, pregnant with D7 and trying to placate J11 -- who was J3 at the time, I decided to take J3 and the dog to the park. It was about 4:00 p.m. and I was trying to get through that late afternoon/pre-dinner period that is sometimes a challenge with toddlers.
The park is about three blocks from our house and to get to it requires crossing a very busy, two lane road. Quite often our cat Tom would come with us to the park. He loved going on walks with us and I loved how he would just hang out at the park and then follow us back home. I would pick him up and carry him across the busy street. Sometimes he would just run across.
I remember that day getting about half way to the park, seeing Tom, and thinking I should turn around because it was getting late and traffic was picking up. But J3 was cranky and I was tired and just wanted to sit down for awhile.
We made it the park, the four of us -- J3, me, the dog, Tom. I'm sure we had our usual good time at the park, I don't remember. It was almost dinner time when we started home and reached the main road we had to cross.
I had a dog on a leash and a three year-old. I picked J3 up, turned around to look for Tom, wanted to pick him up to. But was afraid to try and cross the street seven months pregnant, holding a toddler in one arm and the dog leash and a cat with the other arm/hand. Besides he always made it.
Not that day. We waited for a gap in the traffic and started across. But Tom hesitated. I made it to the other side, turned to watch for Tom. Turned in time to see him start running and then get smashed by a car. It was horrible. Heart-wrenching. I remember he kind of flew up in the air, jumped, ran across the street to where we had started.
Of course I ran back over, with dog and child, all pregnant. I remember J3 laughing, because Tom had looked so funny to him, hopping and flailing.
The woman driving the car pulled over and her friend explained she had just lost a cat a few weeks ago. They offered to stay with him (he was still breathing) while I ran home and got the car. It seemed to take forever to manage to get back home. The toddler, the dog.
By the time we got back Tom was dead. Everyone was crying (except J3-who didn't understand at all). I carefully put Tom in the car and brought him home. I laid him out next to the house and waited for J to come home and bury him.
Tom was one of those pets that really gets to you. One of the special ones. He was a stray who followed me home while I was on a walk when we lived in Maryland. It was three days after a horrible blizzard and he was very sick. We saved his life, taking him in.
And then I took his life with my carelessness and selfishness. I did. This is one of those times in life where I can't really make any excuses, except that I was stupid. I knew there would be lots of cars. I knew I was taking a chance. I killed Tom and it still haunts me. I still miss him.
Now we have Daisy. Sweet Ms. Daisy. Another stray. Just came to the house, skinny. Took us in, loves my boys. She is our cat. Another one of the special ones. The boys adore her and love on her and can't get enough of her.
She also likes to walk with us.
So. Dear neighbors who live one street up, a street that is only two blocks long, but very very quiet. That is why on many mornings when I go out for a walk, I spend 30 minutes walking up and down your street, back and forth, with a gray and white cat following and calling out to me.