The sheen of sweat, the loud voice, the aggressive motions of his hands and feet would have been enough to make his three sons hang back, but the sight of the thing in the center of the museum’s Animals of India rotunda clinched their paralysis.
“Come on, isn’t she awesome? You can ride her!” their father pitched, his body jerking and twitching.
“Are you looking forward to ‘show and tell’ Jess?”
Nodding shyly, Jess replied “Yes and so is Sally.”
Mrs Morgan waited for Jess to say more about Sally. Jess simply smiled, shrugged on her coat and gave a discreet wave as she walked out of the room.
“What’s that Grandad?”
The old man smiled,
“That’s an elephant”
“El-e-phant” she repeated slowly, as if examining the feeling of this new word in her mouth, “It looks scary!”
She snuggled into the old man’s side and grabbed a fist full of her own auburn hair, running it through her chubby fingers.
Peter had first heard the word “safari” as a young boy and the exotic glamour of the word breathed adventure into his brain. It was something rare, something that only adventurous, fabulously wealthy people did. Not for the likes of him. He would only get to see the Big Five by thumbing through National Geographic.
Elijah looked at the baby elephant. He envied it’s energy and enthusiasm. So unlike it’s parent, who moved glacially beside it in the zoo enclosure. He felt more like the old one; grey, wrinkly, full of memories that would never go away no matter how much he’d like them to. An elephant never forgets; neither does an old spy.