A zoo visit

Long ago I wrote this fragment about a photograph from a zoo visit from even longer ago.

I had been thinking about this photo of her. It was taken at the zoo. I really don’t know why I had thought of this one. It’s just one of many taken of her then, at three.

A cherub with a bowl cut. Was it her first visit to the zoo? They told me she rode the elephant that day. I wonder if she was frightened? Whether she went on it alone? Was the elephant her favourite animal?

Light blue eyes. Had they just arrived or was it late in the day? Was she hungry or tired or bursting to wee? Talkative or quiet?

Snub nose. What was the seat she was sitting on? Was she waiting? About to take the zoo train?

Smile curved around a hint of teeth. Were she and her mother alone that day? Was that her mother’s arm beside her leaning away? Had she been holding her hand? Talking to her?

White. Skin, cardigan, skivvy. Who took the photograph? Not her father. A friend of her mother’s? A man?

The reverse of the photo said April and the year. The cherub looked out from nearly 40 years ago.


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