Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Footprints in the Heart

For Cafe Writing - write a short story, scene, or piece of flash-fiction that incorporates the concept of falling in love with a photograph. Immediately, I thought of Gregory Colbert's photograph below, which touched my heart and I immediately fell in love with.

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 learn to 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 while sitting on the veranda, bored because I had no one to play with, I saw you.  And you made everything alright.  That first time I saw you, you were a mere calf walking and playing between your mother's legs leaving whirlwinds of dust behind you that covered your herd. You looked so happy that I could swear I heard you giggling.  And then you saw me and I sensed you wanted to become friends as well.  But although you were a baby, you were so big that I was a little afraid of you. Yet, you were gentle, funny and fun.  In time we learned to trust each other.  And your Mama learned to trust me too and that was very important.  She was so patient with us, never reprimanding our mischievousness.  I laugh when I think of the times you'd become so excited while we played that she'd have to calm you with a gentle nudge of her trunk centering you once again.  You'd hear her soft admonishments, "Remember, little one, you must always act dignified."  She just wanted to raise you right because she knew one day you'd become the leader of your herd and eyes were watching, judging.

And we grew up together in this land, spending our days exploring its forests and savannas.  On those hot, sweltering days when the Sun singed our skins, you'd flap your ears to fan us and we'd go swimming in the river where you'd fill your trunk with water and spray me under the guise of bathing yourself, lest we'd get in trouble once again.  Oh, that was so much fun!  Afterwards, we'd go fill our bellies with the food your land provided and you'd pick blades of grass with your trunk and attempt to feed them to me as well.  Always so giving, you always shared everything with me.  I still remember the day you finally were able to reach the highest branch of the tallest tree and in your excitement you tore it in victory.  In your unbridled joy you hit me on the head with it and off I went to get stitches. We laughed so hard afterwards but Daddy didn't find it so funny.  We were kindred spirits living a free-spirited life in this wonderful, hot expansive land of yours and no amount of accidents or reprimands could ever deter our foolish energies.

And despite your thick, hard 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.  And I trusted you and allowed you to lift me with your trunk so I could climb on your back.  I never had a friend of your kind and yet I came to learn that we were not too unalike.  You knew of compassion and love and felt joy, fear and anger, the same as I did.  

And today I am finally returning home. Yet, this land of yours I feel is now my home.  It's the land I've come to love, all because of you.  And I suddenly find myself stricken with sadness. The thought of never playing with you again fills me with sorrow, my eyes unable to cease the tears that blinds my vision, the vision of you that soon will no longer be. I hope you will always remember me friend, for I will never forget you.  Days of going on explorations learning the topography of your land or gossiping with you of the attention-grabbers and troublemakers of your herd have ended. My father's research is done and I must go now. You will no longer have me as your devoted and loyal companion. And you are now ready to begin a family of your own and must now spend your energy finding your lifelong mate. It's time for you to begin manifesting what will be your most magnificent 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 how beautiful and loving you are, the tender heart I've come to love. And I will show this picture to others and speak of you fondly and tell them how you and your herd also possess the same qualities we have - the very best ones, in fact - and how it comes so easily and unconditionally to you, something that we sometimes take a lifetime to learn. I will speak of all the joyous times we spent together so they could learn to love you just as much as I do.  And this picture will stay with me always, 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 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, dear friend. Goodbye.

1 comment:

Lori Skoog said...

Rebecca-San! What a post! I have a lot of reading ahead of me.....