THANKS KITTY by Christopher T Dabrowski
English translation by Monika Olasek
The sky was astonishingly blue, as every other day. The sun was providing substantial heat and the rustle of the sea was making everybody pleasantly calm and relaxed. The last day of vacation.
Natasha and I were heading for “our beach”, as we called the less crowded part of “normal” beach, located further away. The walking street was empty, since we were the only early birds who went to the beach so early. But within an hour, the place would be as crowded as usually.
Far away, a lump was digging in garbage cans. Next to him, I saw a small black shape. Most probably a cat.
With a corner of my eye I caught a sight of a delightedly shaped girl eating a huge ice-cream. Her solid buttocks round as a bowling ball were asking for a man’s attention. It took all my strength to resist, just because of my girlfriend who was walking next to me.
Oh, if only Natasha would take care of herself a bit, she could have buttocks like that, not those soft, muddy things of hers. And generally, she’s been making me mad lately. She would always let her nasty boss fool around with her and the boss took advantage of that, giving her extra work, and then instead of having some time for regeneration, Natasha went to a bigger or smaller party with some good friends. This made me feel a bit lonely in our relationship. What’s more, Natasha’s body was no longer coping with this speed of living, and her health was rumbling in different ways. This all ended up in me regularly witnessing her being torn by different ailments. And I had to listen how tired she was times and times again.
I would feel sorry for her if it wasn’t her own fault; if she hadn’t done it to herself.
Not to make Natasha sad unintentionally, I focused on observation of the lump who stopped his garbage treasure hunt and looked at the beauty passing next to him. I was curious whether he wanted the ice-cream, as most probably it was a long time since he had something delicious like that, or maybe he wanted to beauty to grab his hand and pull him into the nearest bush to do you-know-what.
The girl changed her path to walk an arch around him—if she could, she would enter the street to be as far as possible from him.
It didn’t surprise me.
And by the way, I wondered what the man’s pleasure in life was, if any, and whether the lump saw any sense in life any more. Wasn’t it devastating when he saw happy, relaxing people around him? Wasn’t he sorry that he couldn’t go into the first bar in a row with pleasant smells coming from inside? Just like people do? Did it make any sense for him to see beautiful women and know that the only feeling they had for him was disgust? Wouldn’t he like to lie down somewhere and simply die? Leave the damaged body and the world of temptations where he had no perspective apart from a still greater suffering?
After a moment, we were passing by him.
‘Yh…’ Natasha moaned, moving to my left.
Well, I could tell she was in a less philosophic mood than I was.
Suddenly, we heard a groan and a sound of falling. It was the lump.
Unconscious, he was lying on the sideway.
Did he faint? Was he alive? Was he dead? We must help him!
I wanted to go towards him, but I felt fingers of steel on my shoulder.
‘Leave him. He must have drunk too much.’
I couldn’t smell any alcohol.
‘I doubt it.’
‘Then maybe he’s stoned.’
She was still holding me, trying to pull me away from the lump. And she was partly succeeding.
‘I must...’
‘No, you don’t! How can you help him?’
‘And what, will you give him a mouth-to-mouth?’
God, I felt sick just thinking of it. But on the other hand, he was a human being! A lump or not, we had to save him. I wouldn’t be able to sleep, if my conscience was burdened with the thought that maybe I could help.
And by the way, that was a bit egoistic, me wanting to save a person in order not to hurt my inside.
‘Just think about the diseases you can be infected with,’ Natasha was still fighting and was more and more convincing. My feet were resisting less and less. We were moving slowly backwards.
I looked at the other side of the street and a way to solve the ventilation issue came into my mind—a rolled restaurant menu stuck into the lump’s mouth would be a lot better than mouth-to mouth, but if resuscitation would be necessary that would be more disgusting.
And I would certainly need someone to help me. Natasha was not the one I could count on, though.
‘You cannot even call an ambulance. We haven’t taken our mobiles!’ she insisted, feeling my growing resistance. ‘Oh, but look, the thing is all over now.’ She pointed to a taxi that was stopping. ‘The driver must make the call or help.’
‘Well, she’s right,’ I sighed with relief—the responsibility was no longer on my shoulders.
Unfortunately, we managed to make just a few steps when I heard the taxi move. A moment later, it drove next to us.
Did the driver call for help? Or maybe not? Would he or she do that? Or not?
I wanted to turn around and go back, do something, but Natasha was firmly pulling me straight forward. I started telling myself that the taxi driver must have called for help, or if he hadn’t, he would certainly do that any second now.
There was a black cat in front of us. He was sitting still, a bit strange, sad.
Of course, Natasha felt no sympathy for a man, but as soon as she saw the cat, she shot towards it with delight, such a sweetie and such a poor little thing, so very tired.
The cat was not only tired; there was something wrong with it; it was swaying side to side, its fur was ruffled, with some bald spaces here and there, as if it took part in a cat fight. And it had something between its paws.
Maybe it had puked?
Natasha was already leaning over it to pet it. She was already squatting.
It was spittle. The cat was sick. Rabies.
‘Nata...’ I didn’t make it. The cat grabbed her wrist with its teeth. She screamed in surprise.
‘Mark!’ she was looking at me with despair.
And me... I was still bothered by the lump issue, so I turned back one more time. And I wasn’t sure that I wouldn’t run towards the man if I hadn’t seen two people leaning over him.
‘Mark!’ Natasha was screaming. ‘What are you doing? Take it off me.’
I turned to her and, without a particular reason, I felt distance and disdain. I really didn’t want to sacrifice myself and take the risk of having a series of painful belly injections. Not for her—something broke inside me.
‘Hold his neck tight,’ such was my advice.
‘It’ll suffocate,’ she was weeping.
He’s dead either way—I wanted to say, but I didn’t. Instead, I kicked the cat’s belly. The animal let go of the hand and rolled to the side. A moment later, it was dead.
‘You killed the cat!’ Natasha was shocked to state this fact.
Or maybe we killed that guy by not helping him on time?—such a thought shot through my mind.
‘I made its suffering shorter.’
For the rest of the day, I felt her growing distance that turned into disdain on our way back to Poland. As if I had hurt her in a way.
I knew that she would tell me that “we had to talk” after we got back. I was right—we did “talk.”
A bit sad, but also a bit happy. We weren’t right for each other. And by the way, I could not share life with such a woman without her heart. Well, at least without a larger part of her heart.
Thanks, kitty!

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