you and me – POSTCARD #41
This postcard was sent by the wonderful folk at Bananafish Magazine.
It’s one of my favourite places.
Special kudos to Michael Alesich, the talented man behind the illustrations.
She fans herself with a brochure of the zoo under her sunhat while he studies a map intently.
Does it really matter where we go first?
He traces his finger along the paper and mutters without looking up.
There’s no point in doubling back on ourselves.
She watches children beg their mother for ice cream nearby. She looks at their pink shoulders and can’t remember if she put sunscreen on. She raises a hand to her temple as a blonde child wails in a piercing note.
I think the baboons.
He says as he strides to the closest enclosure. She follows with quick steps to keep up.
The enclosure is outdated, concreted and covered with chain-link fence. The baboons sit in clusters grooming one another. A male with a white mane of fur sits close to the fence. He ignores the others and peels a banana.
Baboons in captivity have been known to live up to 45 years, while in the wild their life expectancy is about 30 years.
She reads the small sign on the fence and thinks aloud they would have seen him here on their first date.
It’s doubtful he was born in this zoo.
Before she can answer the male throws the banana through the fence and his shirt is splattered with yellow mush. It turns with wide jaws and launches at a smaller baboon, landing heavy blows. The rest of the troop screeches as handlers rush towards the enclosure.
The mother nearby gathers her sunburned children close and talks in a loud bright voice while leading them away from the scene.
He stands expressionless beside her covered in banana.
She puts her hand to her face and is surprised to feel the tears there.