I’m not sure how he got to my clinic. He didn’t look old enough to drive, although his child’s body had begun to 1)broaden and he moved with the heavy grace of young 2)manhood. His face was direct and open.
When I walked into the waiting room, he was 3)lovingly petting his cat through the open door of the carrier on his lap. With a schoolboy’s faith in 4)authority, he had brought his sick cat in for me to mend. The cat was a tiny thing, 5)exquisitely formed, with a delicate 6)skull and beautiful 7)markings. She was about the boy’s own age, 8)give or take a year. I could see how her spots and stripes and her fierce, bright face had 9)evoked the image of a tiger in a child’s mind, and 10)Tigress she had become. Age had 11)dammed the bright green fire of her eyes into faded lace, but she was still elegant and 12)self-possessed.
I began to ask questions to determine what had brought this charming pair to see me. Unlike most adults, the boy answered simply and directly. Tigress had had a normal appetite until recently, when she’d begun to 13)vomit a couple of times a day. Now she was not eating at all and had withdrawn from her human family. She had also lost a pound, which is a lot when you weigh only six.
14)Stroking Tigress, I told her how beautiful she was while I examined her eyes and mouth, listened to her heart and lungs, and felt her stomach. My fingers found it: a 15)tubular mass in 16)mid-abdomen. Tigress politely tried to slip away. She did not like the mass being handled.
I looked at the fresh faced boy and back at the cat he had probably had all his 1ife. I was going to have to tell him that his beloved companion had a 17)tumor. Even if it were 18)surgically removed, she probably would survive less than a year, and might need weekly 19)chemotherapy to last that long.
It would all be very difficult and expensive. So I was going to have to tell this boy that his cat was likely to die. And there he was, all alone. Death is something we push to the background and ignore as long as possible, but in reality every living thing we love will die. It is an 20)omnipresent part of life. How death is first experienced can be life-forming. It can be a thing of horror and suffering, or a peaceful release.
So I would have to guide the boy through this myself. 1 did not want the burden. It had to be done perfectly, or he might end up emotionally scarred. It would have been easy to 21)shirk this task and summon a parent. But when l looked at the boy’s face, I could not do it. He knew something was wrong. I could not just ignore him. So I talked to him as Tigress’s rightful owner and told him as gently as I could what I had found, and what it meant.
As I spoke, the boy 22)jerked 23)convulsively away from me, probably so I could not see his face, but I had seen it begin to twist as he turned. I sat down and turned to Tigress, to give the boy some privacy, and stroked her beautiful old face while I discussed the alternatives with him. I could do a 24)biopsy of the mass, let her 25)fade away at home, or give her an injection and put her to sleep. He listened carefully and nodded 26)gravely. He said he didn’t think she was very comfortable anymore, and he didn’t want her to suffer.
I offered to call a parent to explain what was going on. He gave me his father’s number. I went over everything again with the father while the boy listened and petted his cat. Then I let father speak to son. The boy paced and gestured and his voice broke a few times, but when he hung up, he turned to me with dry eyes and said they had decided to put her to sleep.
No rage, no denial, no 27)hysteria, just acceptance of the inevitable. I could see, though, how much it was costing him. I could not control the tears streaming down my face, or the grief I felt 28)welling inside for this boy who had had to become a man so quickly and so alone.
He held her head and 29)reassured her while I administered the injection. She 30)drifted off to sleep, her head 31)cradled in his hand. The animal looked quiet and at rest. The owner now bore all the suffering.
Something was missing, though. I did not feel I had completed my task. It came to me suddenly that though I had asked him to become a man instantly, and he had done so with grace and strength, he was still a child. I held out my arms and asked him if he needed a hug. He did indeed, and in truth, so did I.
但是，还有事情没做。我觉得我还没有完成自己的任务。我突然想起来，虽然我让他赶快成为一个男子汉，而他也优雅而坚强地做到了，但他依然是个孩子。我伸出了双臂，问他是否需要一个拥抱。他确实需要，而且说实在的，我也需要。by Judith S. Joyhnessee 文字难度：♥♥♥