The first time I saw you, I immediately fell in love with you. A beautiful, alert and happy baby face surrounded by the two biggest ears I'd ever seen. I had come to this land unhappy to have left my own, unhappy to have left my best friends behind. But Daddy said it would only be for a couple of years - four at most - and then we'd return home. This was a wonderful opportunity for him and he said it would be a wonderful opportunity for me as well as I'd learn more of the world and connect with nature. I didn't believe him. I wanted to go home and be with my friends whom I missed terribly.
But then one day sitting on the veranda when I was sad and wanting someone to play with, I saw you. And you made everything all right. That first time I saw you, you were a mere calf walking and playing between your mother's legs leaving whirlwinds of earth behind you that covered your tribe with dust. You looked so happy that I could swear you were giggling. And you saw me and I saw you wanted to become friends as well. But although you were a baby, you were so big that I was a little scared of you. Yet you were gentle, funny and fun. And in time I learned to trust you and you learned to trust me. And your Mama learned to trust me too and that was important. She was so patient with us. I laugh when I think of the times you'd become so excited while you played that she'd have to calm you with a nudge of her trunk centering you once again and reminding you that you were to act dignified. No matter what, you were to always act dignified.
And we grew up together in this land. We spent our days exploring. You'd pick blades of grass with your trunk to nourish yourself and attempt to feed them to me as well. Always so giving, you always shared everything with me. And what about the day you finally were able to reach a high branch and tore it in victory! In your joy you hit me on the head with it and off I went to get stitches. We laughed but Daddy didn't find it so funny. And those hot days when the Sun singed our skins, you'd flap your ears to fan us. And we'd go and swim in the river where you'd fill your trunk with water and spray me under the guise of bathing yourself. Oh, that was so much fun! I knew you wanted to play but knew Mama was watching all the time. You'd hear her admonish you every now and again, "remember, little one, you must always act dignified." But she just wanted to raise you right because she knew one day you'd become the leader of your tribe and eyes were watching, judging.
And despite your thick skin, I learned of your tender spots by your mouth and ears where your skin was paper-thin. I learned this because you trusted me and allowed me to touch it. I had never had a friend of your kind and you showed me that you too knew of compassion and love. You felt the same things I did. We were kindred spirits living a free-spirited life in this wonderful, hot expansive land of yours. I learned so much from you, dear friend.
And today I am finally returning home. Yet, I feel this is my home now for it is the land I've come to love and I've come to love it because of you. And I find myself stricken with sadness. The thought of never playing with you again fills my eyes with tears that are incessant in showing their love for you. I hope you will always remember me for I will never forget you. No more days of going on explorations learning the topography of your land. No more gossiping with you dear friend of the attention-grabbers and troublemakers of your tribe. You will no longer have me as your devoted companion. It is now time for you to finally integrate more fully with your own and begin the road to your destiny.
And I cry. I cry because you have meant more to me than words can ever express. I cry because my heart will now feel a loss that was once filled with days with you. But one day I will return. This, I promise. And I will carry this picture of us always, this picture Daddy took the day he joined us on one of our explorations, this picture that shows the tender side of you, the tender heart I've come to know and love. And I will show this picture to others and speak of you and tell them how you too possess the same qualities we have - the best ones - and how it comes so easily and unconditionally to you, something that does not come so easy to us. I will speak of all the joyous times we had together so they could see the beauty of you and learn to love you just as much as I do. And this picture will stay with me at all times along with the memories of you, until the day I return and see you once again. By then we will both have families and our children can get to know each other just like we did and learn to love each other just like we do. But until then, keep me in your heart dear, loyal friend and never forget me. Because as you roam and lay your footprints on this land, know that your footprints are etched deep in my heart as well.
Goodbye my dear friend. Goodbye.
For Write on Edge .
© 2008 Rebecca Bush