On Good Friday morning, working as a van courier (corporations who took my deliveries didn’t pay much mind to Christ or the idea of sacrificial death) I was waiting to turn right into Punt Road from Wellington Parade. In front of me Punt Road was banked up - stupidly, I thought, it was Good Friday for Christ's sake. I knew the roads. I knew the best ways for the different days and the different times of the different days, and this was Good Friday, a very different day, and this way was the right way for Good Friday, there was no doubt about it. So why all the cars? Why all the cars, and why were they banked up diagonally?
And then I saw it. A golden streak of pure joy zooming through the grey traffic in my direction. A little golden dog, clearing the lanes of the south bound traffic and beginning across the four north bound lanes, cars screeching to a halt one by one as it went, heading straight towards me. The dog's grinning face coming towards me, with ears and happy pink tongue flailing behind, seemed to cry: Freedom! Joy! Life!
And it didn't lose its grin as the tyre pressed its nose to its shoulder, flung it up in the air, and drove on. One car, with time to brake, didn’t, and then just drove on.
My van stalled as my foot left the clutch with the gears still in first. Out of the cabin I leapt, leaving indicator clicking away, door open, key in ignition, arrow gone green but no-one beeping me, seeing where I was going. I had my hand on my mouth and I ran in front of braking traffic without even looking, and crouched in the middle of the four lanes with my hands on the tiny twitching dog. No traffic moved. Everything was silent. The cars all just sat and waited and watched me. Watching me as I sat stroking the sweet silky head which gazed at me until the milk crept into the black of its eyes.
N.B. I don't know why I didn't write it down, but I remember after that a man about my age came running up, just after the dog had died, and we both picked it up together and carried it to the side of the road. He was a paramedic. He said, ‘I can do my job, and it’s no problem, but something like this...' and he choked up a bit, and then he said ‘It’s about innocence isn’t it. It just guts you because the dog was so innocent.’