Day at the Zoo by @neilsehmbhy (436 Words)


Wrestling, leaping, jumping playing. The kids in matching chimp masks are indistinguishable from the those on the other side of the glass. Peering inside she sees two primates holding hands, sharing a banana. Mates for life.

The twins don't see her tears, she saves them for the night.
In the dark she prays for him to come home safe, honourably discharged in one piece.
Please let him be safe.

'Mom ! Mom! Look. Ice cream. Can we have some?'

'Yes' she says smiling back the tears.


Prowling regally, stalking. 
Raw power and grace bundled together. 

Standing, watching he gawps at the pure majestic beauty.
Daydreams of hunting in the Savannah.

Tilts his head down to read.
Leo Tigris. Dips too low.
Glasses fall to the floor.

Reaches out then pulls back quickly. A foot lashes out connecting with his leg.
Laughter and jeers jostle him.

Laughs with them ridiculing himself. Again. Hides his fear.
Defence mechanism.
Safe alone he retrieves his specs to clean off the dirt. Slowly rejoins the class, feet shuffling.

Stick insect

He stands there behind the counter. Soul slowly bleeding away.
His name badge reads 'No one'.
At first it was a joke to see if someone noticed.
A month has passed and still nobody responds.

People shove money in his hands for purchases but avoid his eyes.  Fussing over children and bundling tat in plastic bags.

A girl with red hair buys an orangutan pencil case.
She smiles and looks him in the eye with her brilliant green eyes. Slowly he smiles back.

She winks at him, nodding to his badge.

'Thanks noone.'


The Eagle is last on the way to the exit just before the gift shop.
They look through the green squares of the fence.

Both staring at the bird of prey trapped in a cage, no matter how big it is.

It should be soaring free!

'Free! I wish I was free, no more work. No more seagull managers dropping crap on my desk.
No more stress. Free to relax and spend time as a couple.' he reaches out tentatively for her hand.

Sullenly she pretends not to see  him outstretched towards her. Imploring. Just for a moment though.

'Free', she thinks trying not to reach up to her eye, covered heavily with makeup.

'I wish I was free. Free from the housework. Free from the taunts the shouts, the name calling.
Free from the stench of whiskey and sweat.
Free from the flurry of fists'.

They step away together, fingers interlocking, slipping into each others hands... Trapped

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