Living with an animal fanatic and a wannabe scientist has its points. I’ve spent most of the day watching from the side-lines while the love of my life has been in deep conversation about biology, zoölogy, genetics and anthropology with the guides and rangers at the park.
Do you ever experience some moment when you look at the person you’ve spent a long time with, and see him or her in a completely new light? I mean, you see a side that you’ve only seen hints of before, but which suddenly burst out in full view?
Mark and I spend a lot of time talking about lots of things, but now after seeing him today, I wonder if he’s been humoring my shallow knowledge about things. And I wonder if in our talks he has dumbed down so much of what he knows for my benefit.
He shouldn’t have to do that, because he becomes so animated when he doesn’t have to hold back because people won’t understand what he is saying. For the first time in ages, I’m sad that he didn’t get into Cambridge. He belongs there. If any of us belong there, he does.
But, maybe I’m also holding him back? Do you ever think that about someone, that you’re responsible for their non-activity? That you start to suspect that their or your love is a chain that holds them back?
No, don’t put too much stock into that. These are not morose thoughts – just curious ones. It’s not that important. It’s just that you get used to someone, and you have a way of dealing with someone who is routine. You fall into a habit, and then something happen that break people out of the habit, and they are so much more.
I tend to think I’m fairly intelligent. I’m pretty smart. I get good grades. But I’m a candle to Mark’s flood-light. It is easy to forget that he aced all of secondary school without much effort, and that people actually thought he had one of those letter diseases because he didn’t do that much in school.
We had a wonderful day today. The park had a tame cheetah that gave my hand a good lick. Of course it wanted something in return, but I was forbidden from giving it any food. Otherwise I would have given it a whole steak.
It is hard to describe the feeling of seeing giraffes that walk near you, and antelopes. These are animals that you see on the telly at home, but which are abstract in a way. Yes, you can go to a zoo back home and watch them, but that’s artificial too because it is not their environment. This is.
A zoo is construct where captured creatures live solely to be on display as trophies in a way. Here, we’re guests in their play pen, and they are the masters. To be near them here, and see them, is a feeling beyond compare.
I am so glad that we went, and I am still digesting the sights and sounds and smells and impressions of today, even if it’s well past midnight here. Mark has nodded off to sleep, but I still stay up and see all these things in my head. If I reach out, it’s as if I can still touch those creatures. I am glad we came here because I think this trip is the best we’ve ever had together. Paris doesn’t come close.