5-הבל

3,15 - 10,11 - 2,25


One day, when I was still in the early high school days, while leaving for school in the morning I found a dog hit by a car outside my house. Actually half, maybe two-thirds of a dog, and what used to be its hindquarters, which were now a mixture of fur, bones and entrails, all lying in the very middle of the street. The accident must have happened just a moment ago, but there was no one around. The dog was still alive. When I came closer, he raised his head and looked at me. His breathing was quick, shallow, and laboured, but he looked very calm. He put his head back on the cobblestones (the Lipowa Street in Gliwice was still paved until the late 1990s) and waited. As is the case with dogs, he seemed to be smiling. After a moment, he died.


I was now faced with the difficult question of what to do next. I decided to at least try to lift the remains of the dog off the street. I brought a shovel from the basement and tried to move the dog, but I realised that it would not be possible without touching it with my hands, at least partially. And I was not ready for it. I stood there, with the shovel, looking at the dog and thinking about how different ways of applying the tool, but deep down I knew that nothing would come of it.


Suddenly I realized that a schoolmate of mine was standing on the sidewalk across from me. We went to the same high school, and before that, the same elementary school. We knew each other a little, but not enough to know what to say to each other over fresh remains. This schoolmate had a partucular feature that in stressful situations he would involuntarily smile. Not entirely unlike the dog just a moment ago, I thought. An awkward social situation, like many at the time. Eventually, to my relief, my schoolmate decided to go. I waited a few moments, returned the shovel to the basement, and went to school.


Later that day, he and I talked. It turned out that he thought it was my dog. To my explanation that no, my own dog was all right and well he reacted with embarrassment. We never spoke of this matter again. When I got home, there was almost no trace of the dog.


Things happen in different ways. Sometimes too early, sometimes too late, but other times just in time. Other than that, no much is known. But that, in itself, is not little.


(transl. Magdalena Małek - Andrzejowska)