Last day of school! It was always a very exciting time for the kids at Lovelace School; today they were breaking up for Christmas and about time too!
During the day, Maisy watched all sorts of people hurriedly walking by with their several shopping bags, or bumping into each other, some waived to one another saying “no time to stop, but nice seeing you” or “will catch up in the new year!”
Maisy rolled her eyes. “Everybody is always in a hurry! Tse! Catch up in the new year. Indeed – and why not now?”
The kids were finishing school earlier today. Maisy was waiting for Marti. She now could hear voices, young voices, mothers talking over one another. Then she saw groups of mums holding their kids by their hand, school bags on the other. She saw excited kids jumping, walking erratically, backward in front of their mums trying to tell them about the fun and games they played on their last day at school before Christmas. Marti’s mum and a friend paused outside the shop, for a brief chat.
As they conversed, Marti turned to look at the shop. He was now looking at Maisy, frowning and then rolling his eyes inward. “I wish you would not do that, Marti” thought Maisy “it is not good for your eyes”. Then Marti’s face changed; he grinned. And when he did, Maisy noticed that he had a tooth missing. “I wonder how much he got from the Tooth Fairy to have that grin?” Maisy was amused. All of a sudden he stuck his tongue out. “Charming!” thought Maisy. “But you cannot provoke me, Marti” said Maisy to herself very proudly, almost rocking on her wooden legs.
At that point, Marti’s mum gave a cry and was now pointing towards the end of Lovelace Gardens. Her friend turned and after a moment of hesitation, started walking towards the spot where a crowd was now gathering. Marti turned to watch.
Something black with a tinge of red was flicking in the middle of the road, trembling, vibrating – it looked like an object flagging fiercely in front of a fan. People in the crowd along the pavement were now watching, incredulous and at a loss on what to do. The cars had stopped. Two workmen rushed out of a house that was being refurbished.
“Mummy, what is it?” Marti asked.
There was no reply for a while – Marti’s mum did not know what to say.
“I think…I think that…I cannot believe it, darling…that car run over the cat and run off”.
Maisy could see now. The tail of the cat flicked and its white paws trembled, for one last time. And then stopped. One of the workmen kneeled and with his work gloves, he gently picked up the lifeless cat from the middle of the road and carried it slowly with dignity, away from public eye.
Marti, with his eyes filled with tears, refused to look and kept his head and chin down to his chest, as he with his mother, hand in hand, walked home.
Maisy was sad on how life can change ever so quickly, in an instant. In that moment, the lights on the Christmas tree in Lovelace Gardens lit up and started flicking.