Fate can be cruel. Fortune, even worse.
That girl could not touch a cat
A short story by Nitsua Asemed
That girl could not touch a cat.
It is very odd, how one can notice the most unnoticeable details. And for weeks, at this same time of day, I've been walking down the same sidewalk, going back and forth from my house and the park. Breeze always shuddering, sun blocked by clouds, gentle touch of snow on my face, and voices of bystanders fleeting through the wind. Of course, that was but what anyone can notice.
But then, I noticed her.
I knew every morning, this same time of day; I caught a glimpse of a small figure always at the farthest end of my peripheral. It was a small child; I assumed at the age of eleven or twelve, sitting lonely on the sidewalk, staring at a stray cat that seemed to stare back at her. She was frail, thin, and she had a very white complexion. Her hair, tucked in by a bonnet, was white. Her eyes, her eyes were ruby incarnate. An albino, how blind could I have been not to notice before? Of course, that was but what anyone can notice.
But I noticed something else about her.
It is very odd, how one can notice the most unnoticeable details. That girl could not touch a cat. She can but stare at it, and when it walked forward, she would gear away from its path. I was curious about her. Where was her mother, her father? I couldn't stand it. That very day, I sat down beside her; the wind was howling, freezing. And I was worried about her health.
"Excuse me, little miss, but what're you doing here?" I asked.
She turned to face me, her eyes were ruby incarnate.
"I love cats," she said. "They're cute. This spot is where they gather."
She hesitated for a bit, but then continued, "But I cannot touch one. I have allergies. Mum said I could die."
I looked at her surprised, "Then why do you sit where they gather around? They could kill you!"
But she glanced at me like I was a lunatic, "I told you, mister, I love cats."
She scooched a few inches away from me, saying, "My mum also told me not to talk to strangers."
"Where is your mother?" I asked. "A child like you shouldn't be out here in the cold, and especially here where a couple of cats could kill you."
Five years, three months, eighteen days, and thirteen hours had passed.
It is very odd, how one can notice the most unnoticeable details. It is also very odd how one can learn to forget the most important of details. And for months, at any time of day, I lay tired and dismayed in a white room. A single window at my right, and my vision becoming blurry. I was dying. And my memory was dying.
I tried to forget. I tried...
And even though my memory may fail me in some other way, it fails me not here, for I could remember the albino that haunted me still. For it was at that moment, that same time of day, breeze always shuddering, sun blocked by clouds, gentle touch of snow on my face, and voices of bystanders fleeting through the wind when she stood up and ran away.
"Mum..." she whispered. I heard her tears touch the ground.
She ran away from me. I felt confused, guilty. What did I do? Why was she crying? Did I do something? I had to follow her. I had to.
"Hey!" I shouted. I hesitated at first, but I ran to her. "Come back!" I continued.
I had to follow her.
She ran so fast, I could barely follow. She was a mere centimeter when she turned to a corner; I was falling behind. My body was weak and my heart could not take it. But I pursued for her still despite my age and the dire consequences my body would forego. I was panting hard, and my vision becoming blurry. I knew that day, I was dying. Yet in spite of my basic functions going down to utter failure, I heard a most acute sound. It was sharp and nerve-wracking, and it deeply worried me. I finally reached the corner, and to my horror, upon turning, what I feared was true.
She was frail, thin, and she had a very white complexion. Her hair, flung across the pavement, was white. Her eyes, her eyes were ruby incarnate. They were ruby incarnate. And so was the concrete that surrounded her lifeless body. It was ruby so pure around her head, her face. And her hair was being dyed unto its magnificent hue. The driver was crouched beside her, calling an ambulance with his phone. A dire sense of guilt hung upon his face, he was startled, frightened, terrified. It all happened so fast. People were starting to surround the street; the far away cars were honking, oblivious to the situation. The scene had grimly depressed me, had filled me with utter despair and degradation. And my heart could not take it, it could not forgive it. I slumped across the sidewalk, and came a new sight for the people to behold.
And I still remember everything.
It has been a long time, maybe even an eternity, yet I lie here without having moved on even a second from that event five years ago. Was it all a dream? Was it all imaginary? I can't tell anymore. Back then, I could, but now, no one remembers her, the albino that haunted me still. How long did people care about her? A few weeks? A few days? No, it was less than that. It was much less than that. In fact, I doubt that there was even an hour of utter concern for the poor girl.
And yet, why, for five years, have I pondered nothing else but her?
It is very odd, how one can notice the most unnoticeable details. If the thought of everything never came to me, would I have never sat beside her? If so, could I have spared a life? Did I kill that girl, whose skin was of pale complexion, whose hair was white as snow, and eyes were ruby incarnate? Did I take a person's life because of my curiosity? "Why did she run? Why was she crying? What happened to her mother?" were all these questions the reason why she died? Was it I who killed her? Was it all my fault? And if so, if indeed, I am a murderer, why am I the only person that grieves and grows insane over this person's death? Why was it at that very instance, of which fortune was feeling cruel and bitter, did I notice the most unnoticeable details? Why was it me? Why was it only me? Why was it only me? Of course, that was but what anyone can notice.
But why didn't anyone else notice? That girl could not touch a cat.