I heard him for the first time three days ago.
As I walked out the door on my way to the car, my keen hearing picked up on a very faint but familiar sound. Walking around my building for a while to see what I could discover, the sound had ceased so I couldn't find him.
Then around 2am that night I heard him yet again.
I knew that sound very well.
It was a kitten.
A young one.
That first night I heard him outside - alone - meowing non-stop until about 7am. Several times that night I woke up, as I'm sure others did in my complex, from his constant cries. He stopped finally once the sun was up and more people were stirring about.
The second night he was back once more.
I came home late and upon getting out of my car, I heard him yet again.
This time I walked towards his crying, determined to find the little creature who sounded so pathetically lost, and finally I saw him - meowing and terrified - crouched down between a car and the curb.
I think he spotted me the same time I spotted him.
He was likely scared when he saw me, but my heart sank a little when I saw him.
He was younger than I'd hope he'd be.
Four, maybe five weeks old at best, which is not good news.
Kittens that young are barely old enough to be weaned, and the fact that this little guy is all by himself wasn't a good sign. I know cats well enough, and I knew the reality of his chances of survival.
My attempts to call him over and get any closer were foiled when his learned response to flee humans kicked in and he took off. Hiding under a car a little ways down, he once again started up his futile cries for mama, who was nowhere to be found. If I could just get close, maybe I could nab him and take him in and feed him, but he'll never let anyone get near.
Abandoned, alone, and scared.
I wonder how often people feel like that, and how often their cries for help go ignored.
Its easy to feel lost in this world. Things can so quickly be taken away from us that we're left baffled and numb with no idea what to do. Even sometimes when help might be just a few steps away, you're too terrified to let it even get close. The fear you so wish would leave you alone, is at the same time driving you farther from the help you so desperately need.
Whether you're the one feeling lost and crying out for help, or the one who hears someone else's cries, you need to have the strength and compassion to embrace another person for the betterment of you both. Don't accept waiting for someone else to come along, because that might never happen. It's up to you to be the important difference.
"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."
His constant crying did bother me, as I'm sure it did everyone else who heard it throughout the night. It made it difficult to sleep not only for the mere annoyance of it, but for the realization of what it meant.
But now, tonight, I stand on my balcony listening anxiously, and hear only the normal sounds of the night............................
..........and that bothers me even more.