Gerbil - Burmese

Image by benmckune via Flickr

The girl I like who works at the old person’s home where I also work is giant and almost always wears green, and I don’t mean that I like her in a sexual way, because she is a giant human person and I am a gerbil, and it feels strange even having to say that because you clearly can like someone without it being anything more, but the phrase “the girl I like” obviously has a hidden layer of meaning so that if you say it what people hear isn’t “the girl I like” but “the girl I like-like”, with some kind of emphasis on the first “like” that it is impossible to adequately show in the printed word with its tiresome and limited old collection of typographic adjectives like bolding and italicising and underlining and whatnot. I just like this girl, who is giant even to the other withered old humans, who is taller than them and wider than them and heavier than all of them and wears green so that she hears laughter every single time she brings them sweetcorn, but I do not laugh since – although I lack a true understanding of the human condition – I do know what it is to feel pain and to feel as though everyone looks down on you. Also, I like sweetcorn, and I lack the ability to laugh.
Sometimes, when the old people are gone, she opens up the cage and reaches in, giant pink fingers that smell of food and loneliness descending through the opening in the bars, reaching out, gargantuan and so slow that I can see the tiny tremor in each one as the pulse of her heart, so far away, finally makes it and loops back up around her fingerprints and away. Those fingers that could crush me into a pulp turn and form a wrinkled platform and I do not hide as I would if one of the older humans did that or bite or run around my cage in a panic. Instead I climb on. Do I let myself be carried of my own choice, or does she somehow seduce me into her palm? I do not know.

Those fingers close around me and lift me out, and a terrible wind whispers that name, Glitter, the name I hate when the others call me by it, because humans do not realise that there is only one name, and that is “Me”, but from the girl I like it sounds similar to burrowing into fresh woodshavings, the sound of comfort. Then she carries me away to the old armchair that smells of dried fragments of carrot and I crawl along her arm and listen to her talking and sometimes, sometimes, I insinuate myself between that soft green cotton and her skin and hide in her armpit or in the dark sweat cave of her cleavage near to that terrible engine of blood that pounds and pounds and pounds within her and I wonder how unbearable a life must be that proceeds so slowly and lasts so long.

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