Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Story: Ugly the cat

Everyone in the building knew him as “the Ugly”. He was the tomcat of the neighborhood. He liked three things in life: To argue, to eat from the rubbish and to love –so to speak-.
The combination of these things with the fact that he lived all his life on the road, had some specific results on him.
First of all he was one-eyed. In the place where he should have had his eye there was a widening gap, and the second one seemed as if it was an empty hole. From the same side of the gap he had also lost his ear. His left foot seemed to have been seriously damaged in the past, creating a very strange angle for a cat’s foot, so that when he was walking he appeared to be turning rather than walking straight. As for the tail, it had been lost a long time ago, leaving its position to a very small one that was constantly moving.
“Ugly” should have been one of those cats with the gray streaking and now you could find traces of his original fur where there were no scars, like for example in the head, neck, shoulders or legs. Every time someone saw him the reaction was always the same:
“What an ugly cat”
All children of the neighborhood had taken commands from their parents not to touch him in any way, and the older people threw stones and everything else that could be used for that reason. Once someone had thrown a phonebook at him, while the most common “sport” was the neighbors aiming at him with bags of rubbish. Other times he was splashed with water from the balconies, kicked when he tried to get into a home and one esteemed and respectable family man once thought it was fun to shut his leg in the outdoor of the building because the tomcat refused to get off the shared space.
In these events of human….superiority against the defenseless stray animal, Uglys’ reaction was always the same. If someone splashed him with water he would stay motionless in his position, accepting the splash, until the “fireman” to realize the money he would have to pay to the water company, in order to stop the torture of the stray cat. If he was thrown something, he would coil his marked body and not move.
Every time he saw children playing, he would run towards them meowing trying to rub his head in their hands and feet, as if he was begging for some love. Once an old lady of the neighbourhood took him in her hands, because this phenomenon happened as well, he spread his foot and played with her earring as a baby.
In spite of all the bad happenings, Ugly didn’t seem to have the feeling of danger, so one day he thought to express his pure feelings to an Alsatian dog of a neighbor. Clearly the Alsatian didn’t share the same feelings with Ugly, who seized his with his powerful jaws. I heard the cat screaming as well as my dogs’ growl from my apartment and I ran to the window to see what had happened. I didn’t even think about it and I ran down the stairs 5 by 5 to save the poor cat. Already the dogs’ master had managed to free the cat from the dog and was running away and pulling the dog from the collar. Ugly was lying down in the asphalt and it was evident that his sad life had come to an end.
He was lying in a liquid cycle. His hind legs were abnormally turned around and he had a large cut in his head. I picked him up carefully, hugged him and tried to move him back to my home. I heard his little voice, coming out like a sigh, while I was feeling a week attempt of him to move. “I must be hurting him”, I thought. Then I sensed something in my ear.
Within the terrible pain and anguish of death, which was more than obvious, he was trying to lick my ear. I brought him closer to me and as I was holding him with my right hand, he rubbed his head to my palm, with great effort. He turned his eye towards me and I heard the familiar sound of his purr. Even in the most painful position, this ugly, terrifying cat, was only asking for a little affection.
At that moment I felt that Ugly was the most beautiful, the most lovely creature I had ever seen. Even in the way he was, even with the pain he felt, he didn’t try to scratch me or bite me or even try to get away from my arms or resist in any way, as I thought it would be a natural reaction by an animal. He was looking at me with confidence, hoping that I will do something to ease his pain.
He died in my hands before I got back to my apartment. I stayed for a while in the stairs, holding Ugly’s body in my arms with the thought of how could a terrified cat change so much me opinion of what true purity of spirit is, so that one loves both honestly and completely.
Ugly taught me about humanness, offering and sympathy more than thousands of books, conferences or tv-shows could ever show me and for that, I will always thank him. He was terrified externally, I was internally and for me that was the mature hour to move on and learn to love truly and deeply.
The time had come to offer everyone around me what, drifted from the prejudices that necessary follow the social policies or were the result of the behavior of others, I had kept hidden and secret.
Many of us want to be rich, successful, agreeable and handsome…
Concerning me however, I knew that from now on I would try my best to be like Ugly.

Source: Kleitor

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