So I rescued a little orange kitten today.
My friend and I wanted to hit the park because we didn't want to go to the movies or dinner because that's what we always do, so we headed to this place called Rainbow Springs. We were supposed to go tubing, but as bad luck would have it, the moment we got there, a thunderstorm brewed. We decided to try swimming instead so we stayed in the car and waited out the storm for about half an hour. The rain slowed down and we got out and started walking towards where we thought the springs were.
Along the path, we both heard this peculiar mewling from the bushes. I stooped and looked under a bush and found a tiny kitten no more than a month or two old hiding under a leaf. I knelt and beckoned him and he came right over to me without any hesitation, which led me to believe that he might have been abandoned, or got separated from his mother. Most feral/stray cats and kittens aren't that friendly, so I figured we could take him to a shelter and he'd get adopted quickly. After all, he didn't have any visible injuries or diseases (trust me, I took enough classes as pre-vet to know) and so we took him back up the path to the car. We then get in the car and Google the nearest shelter.
We get to the shelter. We read the sign out front. It says they are at capacity and cannot shelter any more cats or kittens. But thankfully, a girl inside hands us a flyer to another shelter. We call this shelter. They close at 5:30pm. It is 5:15pm at the time of the phone call and the shelter is over ten miles away. We beg the lady to please stay open and haul ass across town. I call the shelter a SECOND time and tell them we are up the street and not to lock us out because there is no other shelter in the entire city that is open and neither of us have the experience to take care of a month old kitten. We get there at 5:35pm.
The gate is closed.
The phone goes straight to voicemail.
And we are left sitting in a car in the rain with a little kitten with no home.
Why am I writing about this at two am? Well, this seemingly wretched experience reminded me of why I'm an author in the first place.
I know a lot of people who would have heard the kitten and simply kept walking. Maybe they'd coo, "Aw, poor thing. I hope his Mama finds him." There's nothing wrong with that. It would have saved an entire two hours of hair-tearing frustration as my friend and I then had to drive to a Publix, buy a bottle and baby formula for the kitten who was mewling his head off to be fed, and then call around our friends to find someone to take him. I would have done it myself if I lived alone, but I don't.
However, I believe that it is my job to help those who can't help themselves, even in a matter as small as a stray kitten. Actually, saving a stray animal was on my bucket list and while this afternoon was by far one of the most frustrating days of my life, I'm still glad I did it. Call me pretentious, but it reminds me of a quote from Castle when Rick told Beckett, "You're the one who honors the victims." I think that because I am just a skinny, awkward, nerdy girl without that many accomplishments, I should still do good wherever I can. I don't expect to be rewarded. I don't expect to be praised, hell, I don't deserve it. But I think being a writer means doing the right thing both on the pages and outside of them. I would never have gotten to sleep tonight if I had left that kitten--we dubbed him "Babou" after the ocelot from Archer because he was a fox-eared asshole, cute though he was--in the rain by himself, crying for his mother. There isn't much I can do in this life that will make a difference. I'll probably live an ordinary life. I'll probably die an ordinary death. But it's moments like the ones with Babou that remind me of why I write stories. Conflict isn't always on a grand scale. Sometimes life is made of tiny battles with few rewards, and some that don't seem substantial.
But it's two in the morning and I'm smiling because one little kitten is safe inside and warm and well-fed, and it happened because my friend and I were at the wrong place at the wrong time.
If that's not good writing, what is?