The Silverbacks Shadow
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The Silverback’s Shadow
The sky was persimmon as the afternoon ambled its way toward the last of the day. An open-air tram carried passengers toward its final stop. The undulating movement of the tram, the warmth of the sun, and time spent in the fresh air lulled the tram’s inhabitants into a semiconscious state.
As the tram slid around a corner, it brought into view a troop of jet black gorillas frolicking about, rousing the passengers into a full state of consciousness. Excitement charged the tram as the passengers stood up to enjoy the unexpected fun. The gorillas looked as cuddly cute as any stuffed toy lining the shelves of FAO Shwarz.
She glanced and smiled at the animals; then, as was her custom, hunkered down in her mind to contemplate the end of the tram ride, the end of the weekend, and return to the work-a-day world. He smiled also; but, as was his custom, immediately entered into the gorilla drama unfolding before him.
The tram passed on.
He interrupted her reverie, his voice filled with youthful wonder.
“Wasn’t that a comical scene ”
Not sure what he was talking about, she thought back to the preceding moments.
“You mean, the gorillas?”
“Yeah The juvenile. He was holding a stick—posturing and talking, waving the stick, conveying he wanted the other gorillas to be his subjects. The silverback must've been asleep.”
“The silverback, what’s that?”
“It’s the dominant male, the troop’s leader, makes all the decisions, always the center of attention.”
“You remember that from other visits?
“Well, yeah, whenever I’ve seen these gorillas, the silverback is always sitting on that same spot on the rocks, well above the other gorillas, posturing and talking to them, like the juvenile today. Haven’t you seen that before?”
“I’m sure I’ve seen it, but I don’t really remember it.”
“That male juvenile was getting such a kick out of acting head-of-the-troop powerful. You could tell by the way his head was bobbing and his lips were pulled back, showing his teeth. He was sending a message, he expected to be revered. In fact, it seemed he felt the humans should also be his subjects. But, I don’t think any of the gorillas were buying it, they just kept on cavorting around the enclosure, ignoring him.”
“I’m glad you enjoyed it so much.”
As the passengers exited the tram, she was thinking about Christmas shopping, a discount coupon in her backpack, and the gift shop around the corner. He was chuckling about the juvenile's golden moments of being a legend in his own mind.
In the gift shop she found a puzzle and some socks for the grandchildren. He found a stuffed gorilla.
“Wasn’t it hilarious, that little guy reveling in the glory.”
She smiled at him quizzically.
Twilight settled across the valley floor as they rode quietly home. City lights began gleaming in the distance. He was pondering the fleeting joy of watching the young king with his merry gorilla troop.
She was just pondering - carpe diem!
~Deborah Kaye McDade~
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