Sudden storm, and a tragic end

The rain lashes against my windows; lightning slices the sky. The summer thunderstorms prepare themselves during the humid mornings, until the atmosphere becomes so dense that the heavens open up and release their downpour. The storms come quickly, usually about 2 in the afternoon, and are over as quickly as they start. A furious wind sometimes whips up the rain and sends it flying in open windows. There now; it’s over, save for a light drizzle and one last ear-splitting, thunderous round of applause from the heavens.

My Friday had a sad beginning. I was walking Xiao Gou Gou a little before 8 this morning, prior to leaving for my 8:30 group lesson, when out of the corner of my eye I saw something fall from one of the apartment blocks in my complex. We approached, and at the entrance to the building lay a small cat. It wasn’t a baby – perhaps a few months old – and its silky tan-and-orange body was stretched on the concrete. It was obviously injured; there was blood at its mouth and it moved its head but didn’t get up. I was beside myself, thinking that a negligent owner had left a window open. I ran to get the security guard, then yelled up at the building to attract attention. I went inside, with the dog, and knocked on a door to ask if they owned a cat.

Not knowing what to do, I expected others to help, but they either weren’t interested or were as perplexed as I. It was too late, though: after about 5 minutes or so, the little body was still and the kitty’s short life was ended. A woman came out of the building, and said that she’d given the cat some milk earlier in the morning, but it lived in the yard. There are quite a few such cats here, and they belong to no one in particular.

I took XGG home, changed my shirt for my class, and left again with a towel to wrap around the little body. When I got back to the spot, though, the cat was already gone and the pavement was wet, having just been washed. The guard at the gate told me he’d taken the kitty to the trash receptacle area across the street, an ignoble end to the story. I later figured out that the cat had been in the stairwell – the woman who gave it milk lived on the 2nd floor – and had probably wandered through a gap in the concrete blocks that let in light to the stairs, a fatal mistake.

**************

On Monday I will start teaching at Sichuan University in the afternoons, through late August. I’ve been hired for two programs: a 6-week class for the University’s professors to improve their oral English, and a 3-week class for rural primary and middle school teachers who want to enhance both their speaking and teaching skills. It promises to be an interesting and fun experience. A big plus: the classrooms will be air conditioned.

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