Chance Encounter of the Boy Kind

There is absolutely no bookish content in this post. But I have had trouble concentrating, including reading, since last week. Then my dog got sick. But on Monday, this happened. This small little encounter jogged me back into life.

So, hmmm, maybe there is bookish content here after all?!

I needed to return some dvds to the market. I had just dropped off my dog at the vet for tests and was worried. Deciding a walk would take my mind off the outcome, I grabbed the dvds and walked out the door.

Up the block on the sidewalk, I noticed an animal body. I got to it just as a boy on his bike stopped.

“What is it,” he asked me?

“An opossum,” I said.

It looked freshly dead and at first I wasn’t sure if it was actually playing possum. But as I walked around it I saw that it was, in fact, dead. The red-haired boy, about 11 years old had taken off his bike helmet. I couldn’t tell if he was really concerned about the animal or if he wanted to pick at it. I know, I know….

I pulled out my phone and said I should call animal control.

“How do you do that,” he asked?

“Well, I don’t have animal control’s number, so I’ll call 911 and ask them to connect me.”

I finished the call and said I had to be on my way. The boy said he would stay with it until animal control came. He asked me the time then said he had half an hour until school and waved me on.

I continued walking up to the market and deposited the films. Still suspicious of the boy and knowing I had to retrace my steps, I went back on the opposite side hoping he wouldn’t see me if he was still there. He was. And the animal control van still had not appeared. I watched him walk away, come back, and bend down near the opossum’s body and my stomach turned. Then he hopped on his bike and rode away.

Why had he walked around back and forth?

I crossed the street wondering what I would find. There looked to be twigs or sticks near  the body. And as I came up to it, I saw the reason for the boy’s walking around: he had been gathering sticks to make a cross and bent down to place it next to the opossum’s body.

I got all teary eyed, feeling so bad about my suspicions and negativity. He did this anonymously when he could have done nothing…or worse. And he rode away knowing no one would know what he did.

The depth and kindness of that 11 year-old boy change me in an instant. I suddenly wasn’t so worried about my dog or life in general or people or the future or all the negative portents still swirling around since last week.

Anonymous was a red-haired boy. May he be blessed.

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