It appeared from around the top of the island. Very classical – face down, arms and legs stuck straight out. It’s hard to say who was the first to see it. It was just a quiet drink’s party on a balcony overlooking the Nile. I think it was already snared in an old tree beside the river when it became a common curiosity.
There wasn’t any doubt it was dead. Even from that distance – it was definitely dead. There was some discussion about whether somebody should do something. Consensus was reached that it wasn’t our body, our country. Somebody said they had heard that if you report a body you are immediately under suspicion as the Cairo police are simply after a quick arrest. Who knows if this is true.
It sort of hung around for a day or so – clearly visible from apartments overlooking the river. Then overnight it disappeared. Maybe it sunk or the river shook it free to take it somewhere where it may be noticed.
And the strange thing is that when I am driving now and see a dead cat on the road. I will stop and move it onto the roadside, gently. I will check to see if there is a collar and call the owners. I have known the distress of a cat just disappearing. The owners will want to know what happened and to have the body of the cat to bury. Some small comfort.
The strange morality of the expatriates. This happened in Cairo in 1985. I hope I would do it differently now.