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Part 2 starts now…
In either case, she uses her props. Continues her story.
At home, though, her mother had glared at them, asking her if like her father, she wasn’t afraid of courting disaster. But Mrs. Drummer had felt emboldened by her hasty departure from her job and the dismantling of her life with Carl, so to her all this had just seemed like another step in the right direction. So with her mother she simply feigned indifference, because unlike her father, she could tell where one thought ended and another began. She held no vapid illusions. And furthermore had never been someone who would take risks. After all her engagement to Carl had been going on for more than seven years. Even though many times, he had tried to get her to elope. Or to set a date. With her, there was no budging from any one position, until ultimately she was ready for it.
With her father in the hospital, everything became perilous. Up in the air. Like a man on stilts or else everyone holding their breath after a figure skater had executed a risky motion, and everyone else was waiting for her to fall back upright on solid ground. Like that figure skater Mrs. Drummer felt certain that she was about to fall. Something she kept hidden from Carl because he was supposed to have been her rock. Her comforter. Her man of the hour.
One or two boys in the back of the room got up and started to throw the small, furry creatures to one another, and Mrs. Drummer got up to stop them, when she was accosted by one of the smaller boys. His hand on her sleeve as though it was common for him to question adults.
“Miss Drummer,” the boy with the crooked teeth said, looking up at her, “Do you like tigers?”
“Yes, of course John,” she said, trying not to get too distracted by the unsightly shape of his teeth, and as he removed his hand, she wondered if she was lying to him outright or if her response was something more autonomic, the response of a little girl who had once looked just like them.
“Tigers are the most magnificent creatures in the world,” she said, pointing to the two boys in the back, indicating to them, that it was time for their throwing to come to a stop. She saw the guilt ease across their face, while John’s face showed pride, as though he was happy that there was one more person in the room who would stand up for the tigers just like him.
Watching them now, Mrs. Drummer knew that it was a marked improvement, like their behaviour because at the start of the week according to their chart the tigers had been dead last, after the ostriches, who had been given a better rank on account of their long legs, and curiously black plumage. By all accounts Mrs. Drummer would have felt pleased too, knowing that in some small way, she had been a/the cause of all of this.
How in the space of seven days, the tiger had not only bypassed the giraffe but also the gazelle to make their way straight to the top of the class rankings. These other creatures of course at one point or another had also held her interest. But up until twenty-five years ago, there would never have been a habitat exchange. If it hadn’t been for her father, and the local zookeeper, and some of the other men in the village who realized that because of poaching their once distinguished habitat was no longer thriving. That was when the Bengali tigers had been introduced into the region. The time when getting to know your local and international creatures, was like stepping outside your door, extending a hand to greet your neighbour.
To be continued on Saturday…
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