Last week a neighbor's cat was hit by a car. It crawled into our driveway and died. We went to the neighbor's house to break the news, Laurie and I. This is a young couple with a young daughter, maybe eight or nine years old. The husband came out to have a look. He stood sighing over the dead cat. I have never seen anything quite like it. He just stood looking down, seeming unresolved as to what exactly to do. Just when it seemed he was about to bend over and pick it up, he would "heave a sigh" (that old cliche describes it exactly), and hesitate longer. Once. Twice. A third time, then quickly he stooped, petted the cat's head once in a somewhat embarrassed manner, sighed deeply yet again, and then picked up the cat (which was by now quite stiff) and carried it home.
The next morning, passing their house, I saw the little girl out in the driveway. She was looking all around. Then, as if struck with a new idea, she suddenly ran to the open garage and looked about in there. I suppose she was looking for the cat. Probably the parents hadn't had the heart to tell her yet.