Memory of Elephants


Another girl series post! I think I'm going to have Friday's be girl series post day. 


The girl could hear the whirl of the air conditioner that was providing cool air throughout the house. It was an antidote for the humid heat that was outside.  She could feel the cool breeze lapping around her feet, telling her to calm down. Shhhhhh, they seemed to whisper. The girl sneezed.

The girl sat on her chair, two feet planted firmly on the ground, as if it was an assurance that she was in control. When she was younger, the back of the chair was taller than her, but now, her head reached high above the back of the chair. It was funny how time passed.  The girl sneezed again.

She sat in her chair putting her legs on the seat. If her mom had seen her, her mom would say that it was unladylike but the mom was nowhere in sight. Now, the girl couldn’t feel the cool air on her feet. It was nice.

The girl moved her hand on the mouse. Tap, tap, tap. She was impatient, no doubt. She pressed some keys on the keyboard.  Tick. Tack. She remembered when she wrote a poem with the similar title and a classmate came up to her, asking her if she was copying a singer who had released a song that spelled the sound of a clock wrong. The girl had stared at the classmate.

Now, the girl stared at the monitor. She was writing, filling out forms and answering questions. It was nerve wracking. In a way, it would determine her future.  It was good practice then, because she’d need to write applications soon. It would be more nerve wracking than this.

The girl read the question. What is one miracle that happened in your life? “Er, sorry… What?” the girl wanted to ask the monitor.  The girl clicked on another tab. Sorry, she wanted to say, that question is too profound. I’m not capable of answering such questions.  The girl felt undeniably young. Naïve. Innocent.

She was transported back to the days when she used a stool to reach the faucet. She had sat on the sofa that seemed to envelop her in its cushiony softness, reading. The sofa springs were broken, which made it no fun to jump on.  The little elephant walked along with his mother. No, what was the line again? The girl furrowed her eyebrow in concentration. Babar the elephant. The gray elephant that stood on two legs and had adventures. It was funny to imagine an elephant standing up on two legs and driving a car. The girl laughed at the recollection.

What was it the girl had asked when she was so very, very short? Mommy? Why did the elephant mommy die? The girl’s mom had looked at her and said, “See? There are very bad people out there who kill elephants for money.” The girl had furrowed her eyebrows. Well, is Babar’s mommy happy where she is now?  Her mom had smiled, a little happy smile, and ruffled the girl’s hair. What do you think?
“What do I think?” the girl thought. “Yes… What do I think?” That was a profound question then, wasn’t it? Yet her terribly young brain had thought of an answer, right? Yes, mommy. Babar’s mommy is happy. There was no reason. Babar’s mother was happy. Just because.

She’d answer this question too. She could because Babar’s mommy was happy. She just had to think.

Mommy, why is the sky blue? Mommy, why are you my mommy?

She wrote something down. 

Her mouse hovered over the send button.

Mommy, I like the way chocolate melts in my mouth.

The girl smiled.

She pressed the mouse.

Mom, I think… that I’ve found a response. 

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For an archive of the girl series posts, you can go here.

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Maira Gall