Joel Killed Kittens

Summer, 1970

I remember a nice summer morning. It was the week end because my mother was cleaning the house. Saturday was cleaning day. Leaving to go out and play kept me from doing my chores. Usually washing the dishes and cleaning my room. The neighborhood was quiet because of the dead end street at the time. I learned to ride a bike without traffic interrupting. Going up and down the street trying to ride the perfect wheelie was my only goal that day. On my way back towards my house I see Joel who lived in court down the street. He’s throwing a ball at the brick wall in front of my neighbor’s house. Turning around, I had to see why he was doing it there.

I rode up into the grass and stopped. In his hand was a dead kitten. He laughed and said, “I’m killing kittens”. They barely had fur, their eyes were closed, and they were lifeless. I never saw anything dead before, let alone someone killing something. I pushed him down. I think that was the first time ever felt outraged and angered to the point I wanted to fight. He cleaned the grass off himself and left. I looked around in the bushes and found three kittens all together. I tried to dig a little hole in the hard dirt to bury them. I was afraid to touch their little lifeless bodies while I covered them.Kittens

The years went on, I passed by the house a lot. I could always hear the faint sounds of a cat’s meow in the bushes. I always looked thinking I saw one, hoping I saw one. The last time I was in the village I grew up in was around 1998. I drove by the house and looked at the bushes. But this time, in the large Living Room window, was a big white and yellow cat inside the house sunning himself on the back of a couch. He contently watched as I drove by. The lifeless kitten I took out of Joel’s hand years before was a tiny white and yellow one.


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