Somehow, these apes tend to understand me better. They sheltered my mother when my father died of malaria, and she hid alone in a tree house until I was born. From then on, she was on a quest to carve out a way back to the city but failed to do so. Day after day, she came back to me with all hope lost, and no progress. Until one day she came back to the tree house to see me playing with an ape. And so on goes the story as she tells me. Or, as she told me.
A little spray of tears forms at the edge of my eyes. My mother gave up her wish to go back to the city, as she saw me learn to love the ways of the wild. She gave up all hopes that her team would ever find her. And so I grew up to be hunched in the back, walking like an animal, that’s how Jane described me once, sketching rough pictures in her diary.
At that time, I didn’t know that I was just a subject of her research. My mother hid from her, never showed herself in her presence. So, Jane never believed a word that I spoke about her existence. I suppose that’s what she meant when she called herself, ‘practical.’ As the memories nudge against one another in my mind, I feel shaken by their impact.
So much has happened in such a little time. I look at Jane once more, try to find a semblance of sincerity on her face. I can tell from her posture that she knows that she is being watched, and she knows that I’d always be doing so. As I look on, she looks straight into my eyes from below the ground, and points up.
For a split second, I freeze. I think she might be finally ready to recognize me and tell me why she left me. I never ever got why her research was so dear to her. In half a split second, tiny dots of hope start to form across my vision, until I see red. Or to be precise, hear it first.
I hear gunshots. My muscles tighten but my heart pumps up blood in full pressure and before I make a conscious decision, my feet carry me away. I work my way across thick branches in an attempt to conceal my presence but I can hear footsteps pursuing my path. After a few difficult turns, I manage to lose them.
I stay quiet. “What you do’in Taarzen?’ My mother’s voice plays in my mind, and I realize that I had walked straight into danger last night and Jane was prepared for it all the time. I realize that my dead mother’s voice was a warning trying to alert me but all I saw was Jane. All this time, I only saw Jane.