I slipped out the back. My shoes ground against the gravel as I walked at pace toward the church in the adjacent lot. In the upstairs window I saw the priest at his sewing machine. His face was lit from below by a small desk light. There was cynicism in the shadows around his eyes and mouth. At the fence that followed the property line, I turned around and looked at the door of her place. It was aluminium and somebody had kicked it in at the bottom. Whoever it was had worn pointed boots.
I left the door unlocked because that’s what she always did. Even though it was a bad neighbourhood with lots of drugs. Lots of crack and meth and badly cut heroin. And lots of whores. If you wanted to pay for sex all you had to do was walk two streets over and flash a twenty dollar bill.
A halfway house filled with violent thieves and nervous paedophiles was only three doors down. She didn’t care, though. She felt protected; a providence thing. Which is probably why she hadn’t taken her cat to the vet. She was holding out. For the unexplained reversal. For the rapture, of the mystically intervened.
It was the ugliest cat I’d ever seen: pot-bellied; skinny; thin orange fur. It would bite you if you assumed it to be a typical cat. If you thought it would purr at the first stroke of your hand, then you were in for a week’s worth of antibiotics. The strong kind. The kind that kill all the good bacteria in your gut and give you the liquid shits.
The cat was sick. It was probably full of cancer. The last time I was at her place she had mentioned that it was having seizures. She also said that it was incontinent, and mostly blind.
For my intervention, I made sure to bring along a pair of leather work gloves.
It was quick, painless and free of charge.