Where is Mommy Going?
“Mom, can’t you take off today?” whined Zinco.
“No, dear. I have to go today. Why don’t you play with Tina?”
“She is always asleep. She is so small. What can she play?”
“I am so sorry, dear. I have to go,” said Mommy.
Zinco spent the day sullenly in his nest with his baby sister, the 10-day old squirrel, Tina. He complained about the peanuts his mom got for dinner. They were soaked and not crisp enough, he felt.
The next day, Zinco did not whine or complain. He was quiet and looked thoughtful. He had decided to follow his mother. He wanted to see where she went and what she did. This way he would escape from spending another boring day with his sister.
The next day, Zinco followed Mommy at a safe distance. He saw her leaving the warmth of her neem tree nest to a plum tree, a little farther away. She crawled her way to some ripe plums and tried to pick one. Some territorial parrots snapped at her. One tried to peck her but ended up injuring her back. Zinco watched as Mommy slowly crawled down. Zinco felt terrible, as he was the only one who ate plums in his nest.
Mommy crawled down to pick some grains from the muddy floor. She painstakingly picked the best grains from the rain-drenched mud. Zinco realised that they were for evening snacks, which his mom lovingly fed him.
All of a sudden, a wild cat appeared from nowhere, pouncing on Mommy. She twisted and squeaked as the cat got hold of her tail. Zinco shrunk back, terrified. The cat turned his head at a loud noise. Mommy took the moment of distraction to scamper away.
Thankfully, Mommy was not bleeding. Now, she was in a residential area with Zinco following at a safe distance. A two-legged giant threw something out of her balcony. “Mom. I said I hate vanilla cake. I want the black forest,” she cried. These big giants (they were called humans, apparently) were so loud, Zinco thought.
“Mary, why did you throw that out? Go to the naughty corner,” shouted another voice.
So, this giant was a child? Zinco was bemused and still staring at the window when Mommy took crumbs of the ‘cake’. This was the incredible sweet dessert that he and his brother loved so much. So, they were human-made. It looked like this ‘Black Forest’ was superior to other cakes. Zinco licked his lips and wondered what it tasted like. The little squirrel thought about how he and his brother used to fight for these cakes and felt sad. His brother had moved out long ago and was now living on his own.
Mommy picked the crumbs and crawled slowly when a cat chased her. He looked well-fed and was apparently chasing her for amusement. She crawled on hard stones and hid behind a tree. The cat walked away, disappointed.
Mommy was limping now. She was slowly crawling towards a familiar path. Zinco realised that she was going home to the neem tree. He jumped and quickened his pace. Zinco did not know he could move so fast. He was home some 20 minutes before mommy reached.
Mommy came inside and smiled. “Look, what I have brought for you?”
Zinco did not complain like he usually did.
“Wow! Mom! They are delicious.”
Mom looked relieved. She lay down, tired.
“Mom, can I come with you tomorrow?”
“But, you are too young…”
“I am no longer a baby. I can move as fast as any young squirrel. Isn’t it time I started my training?”
Mom looked at him, surprised and doubtful. Zinco confidently puffed up his chest.
Mom smiled. “Maybe you should start.”