The Stray Dog

The dog was too close. I saw its face, the final second(s) just before impact. I killed it. Poor thing.

It had just drizzled. The road was slippery (okay, unless your car tyres are worn out, or its snowy, I doubt this theory), no, the road was just wet. It was at night and visibility was impaired. So am cruising at 120kph, a cool 70kph over what is recommended when driving in that area (residential). Partly because I was late and needed to be home to assist my mini-me to complete his homework, partly because I had overtaken a big machine, a landcruiser. For those who still have adrenaline running in their veins, you understand how exhilarating it is to overtake a big car while driving one which is already tired of requesting for an upgrade.

You know and probably have experienced this feeling before. No? And when you have overtaken the big car, you console yourself that your small car still has some dignity left in the motor industry. You convince yourself that when you eventually upgrade to that big car, you will not allow a small one to overtake you. Then as you grow older you realize that speed is none of your concerns. If what it takes for you to arrive safely is driving slowly, you are ready for it, even if the journey will take you a day, in place of some few hours over-speeding. So yes, you eventually get the big machine, but keep on wondering why small cars are in a rush, you shake your head and know that eventually they will calm down. And settle to a slower life.

Back to the road. And the dog.

I was listening to one of those classical music pieces, probably from Stainer’s Crucifixion. The volume is maximum because it sounds so heavenly, for a moment it makes you float in the air (mentally) and let all your troubles fly away. You feel as though you’ve just arrived at the pearl gates and your name is the first on the book which St. Peter is holding, beckoning you to the Heavenly Kingdom. You are convinced that those music composers then were touched by God Himself to write such cool music, borrowing heavily from the Bible and in such magnificence their pieces are sung and performed hundreds of years later. You wonder what madness the composers of today have brought to the music industry these days, where you are not sure whether it should be sung in church or in a party, whether it is gospel (since there is a mention of Jesus in one sentence of the whole song) or secular. With all the technological advances and the knowledge-gain over the years, classical music remains perched on the topmost branch, like a pretty bird chirping and portraying her beautiful feathers to the world on the tallest tree in the village.

Then amidst all this bliss, bang! The shape appears just an inch away from the car. I see the face, it’s a dog. Probably a stray dog. A stray dog crossing the road. The situation is probably best described as being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. I sympathize with it, for a moment, as I feel it’s impact on the front bumper. I close my eyes as I await the crushing of the body by the wheels, which never happens. Due to the high speed, the dog was propelled to the other side of the road. No sound, no shrieks, no mourning – silent death. I didn’t stop. I felt no remorse. I was not in the mood to sympathize with a stray dog, for ending its industrious life. Maybe it was on a mission to find its mate, maybe its mate was waiting for it to come back home. Maybe it had left its puppies and taken a walk, to cool off from their cries and their whines – sort of to get some fresh air and look around, see what others are doing with themselves. Will never know for sure.

The following day, as I ease the car out of the parking, and after inspecting the damage to the bumper, the guard asks me whether whatever I hit really survived. I shake my head. Couldn’t answer that question because the dog didn’t make any sound nor did the wheels crash the body after the impact. All I knew was that I had hit a dog. At the spot of the impact (what you may call ground zero), the dog lay motionless on the other side of the road. Black. And it stayed there for some few days before it was taken away. Reminded me of the years in rural Kenya. Sometimes a dog would be knocked down by a car or poisoned and would be thrown beside the road. Then nobody would be touched (or bothered) to bury it. Then it would rot. And the smell would be so awful you would feel it in your dreams. Sometimes I would find it difficult to swallow food when the image of the rotting dog and the smell crossed my mind.

The Image of a Dog

That story of the dog aside, I do not see myself rearing one soon. And by the way, that episode brought misery to that car (and me) from that day to date. I am not sure whether the dog cursed me but probably the owner. Either cursed me or the car, or both. Am yet to establish. Anybody knows how to scatter the spell from a dog, or a dog owner? Please let’s meet outside at the corner for further negotiations including pricing, timing and the place to meet. How will it be administered?

Can we all promise not to stray in the new year? Can 2020 be a year with less casualties please? Everyday should count. Every day we must examine our steps. Are we walking towards the right direction or someone is derailing us and making us go astray (sometimes I like listening to Handel’s piece: All we like sheep have gone astray)?

And before I forget, let each one of us treat the other with kindness, despite the ranks or wealth or status or whatever makes us feel that we are above the rest (vanities). Then finally we must pay our debts promptly. You cannot have borrowed money from your friend and one year down the line you show no effort to refund. That is stupid.

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1 Comment

  1. Thomas December 27, 2019 at 10:26 pm

    Nice piece.


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