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Image by Drew Beamer



Learning to be Just Like Mother


Jennifer is the best at hiding.

“…25 …26 …27 …28, 29, 30!”

Spinning round, eyes open wide, seeking the quickest, slightest flash of someone hurriedly hiding. I sprint all over checking the usual spots. She’s not there. I try the other likely places, the less likely ones; I am stopped from entering the home.

“No, she’s not in here. Go on, out you go, I'm busy.” Mother shoos me back out, hair bristling in impatience.

I slink silently through the shrubs, the bushes, around the trees. There! “I see you!” Is that her leg dangling from a branch? It’s not her leg, the breeze lifts it ever so slightly. It settles again. Just a creeper vine. I feel like I’ve been searching for hours. Where is she? I turn around in despair but it’s then that I hear it. The chuffing, chortling sound of Jennifer’s laugh, her happy noise.

I keep turning, looking despondent, but my ears are pricked for any more curious noises. Almost by accident, it seems – or, at least, I hope it does – I walk obliquely towards the noise. The long grass tickles my ankles and hot sunshine beams down, warming me all over. Carefully, carefully, I squat down using the grass as a hiding place of my own. I will myself to stay as still as possible and I wait. Patiently.

Jennifer may be best at hiding, but I am best at waiting.

On the breeze I smell the faint scent of dinner approaching. Mother will be busy getting it soon and will want us out of the way: “You’ll only be in my way. Wait until you’re a bit older and you’ll be able to help me.” But it looks so much fun! I think it’s my favourite thing, watching Mother get dinner.

The tiniest flash, the tiniest movement and my hair rises up in anticipation. There she is! Jennifer has picked a really good spot to hide this time. But she's just a little too big for it. Mother says we’re growing fast. When Jennifer was still, I didn’t see her, but a slight twitch and I’ve got her.

Purposefully padding my way to where I can leap at her, I’m so tense all my hair is standing on end. This is where I failed last time. This time, Jennifer won’t know she’s caught until I've grabbed her.

Silently, silently. Slowly, stealthily.

Cool. Calm.


Springing into the air I land on all fours in front of her, grab her and roar! She growls back at me in surprise and we wrestle. She struggles; I’ve won! My tail swishes in satisfaction. She’s ‘It’ now.

Mother calls and we race over to where she’s torn up some meat for us, although we do like tearing it off ourselves. It’s hot and yummy and as Mother didn’t have to bring it far, it’s even tastier. Mother is pleased with us: “My clever little cubs! My baby hunters!” she preens, licking us clean where we got blood all over our fur. “You’re almost old enough to hunt with me!”

“Will we hunt deer and buffalo like you, Mother?” asks Jennifer, bouncing in excitement.

“Yes, of course! But if you’re very good, I might take you to hunt something much better. They don’t taste very nice, but it is so much fun listening to their squeals. It will be good practice for you, too, as they don’t run very fast.”

“Men!” we squeal, eyes shining round and large as we tuck into more of the delicious deer.

“Men,” Mother nods happily.




So many boxes waiting to be filled

With you and them.

So many leaves carpeting the ground;

Crunch behind me,

Growing beside me.

So many places I’ll never go.

Why are there always?

Is that all there is?

So many things I didn’t say at all.

So many places.

So many truths and lies.

All the little things

And all the big things.

Dream away.

Let your thoughts collide.

An explosion with all there ever is.

So many things I never said.




It’s time

Know I hear you, know I see you.

I’m here, waiting for you.

So many boxes waiting to be filled

With you and them.

Many ways, many dreams.

Let our thoughts collide

In the starlight.

I’m here, waiting for you.

This is our time.

It’s time.


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