The day was warm, and we drove to the zoo. It was hard to decide which animal I liked best. It could have been the zebras. Yes, I did like those black-and-white horsey things. There was an orangutan whose hair looked like Papa’s. Most of all, I like the elephant, I guess.
Before I could tell Mama, she screamed.
Papa, I couldn’t see him. Mama’s eyes were wet and her hands, red. Brushing the hair behind my ears, she said it would be OK. She had made us a strawberry cake for after supper.
I got tired.
No, my boy. Stay right here, in Mama’s lap. Tell me about the animals you saw today.
The sun shone hot, bright burning glitter through the trees while Mama held me, asking if it was the monkeys, or maybe the crocodile that I liked best.
I wanted to tell her it was the elephant I liked, that I wished I could ride him. But Papa came back shaking his head.
Mama cried and told him to go to the hospital anyway.
I shivered once, and then I stopped. My name is Irvin, but now it’s not. I’ve seen elephants, but I’m not sure what more has happened since. I don’t see Mama or Papa, but the sun is still hot, and the trees the same. It’s like summer all the time, as if winter never came. I’m not lonely. I have my elephant.