charlie caught his third mouse yesterday. there was a brief scramble in the kitchen, then he came bolting into the living room. i didn’t even have to see him to know he’d caught something.

between the first noise in the kitchen, and my grabbing charlie and his dropping the mouse, maybe five seconds went by. if that. i snatched it up off the floor, but it’s little back was broken. a little drop of bright red blood was starting to trickle from it’s mouth, and its tiny body heaved twice. it died in my hand.

poor charlie was searching frantically for his lost prize. i stood and watched him, holding the mouse, and all of a sudden i felt so lost. my brain didn’t seem to be able to handle feeling proud of my three legged predator, and guilt for having taken away his catch, and upset at the limp little corpse i was holding, all at the same time.

i froze. i didn’t know what to do with the body. i didn’t think i could bear listening to charlie eat it, or cleaning up after him afterwards if he got sick. but i didn’t want to throw it away. it wasn’t garbage. it was a living thing, up until a few seconds ago. its eyes were still bright, shiny black beads. so i just stood.

i held onto it until the last of its tiny amount of body heat had warmed my icy hands, and then i slid it inside an empty toilet paper roll. i put the toilet paper roll in an empty chinese food container, and then i walked away.

all of my issues with death and dying, they are brought to my attention in everyday life. roadkill, birds hitting windows, drowning puppies, cholera epidemics, obituaries, murder/suicides… and insignificant little mice in the palm of my hand. i am surrounded, and i just don’t understand.

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