“Don’t just sit there, Cody, talk to me,” Lindsay pouted.
“Don’t you think you are being just a wee bit selfish? I mean, this place has a lot of potential. It has everything you need. Look at it.” Lindsay paused. “Your old place is gone, Cody. This is your new home.”
Cody looked around. Her arms remained folded; her head held aloft. She puckered her lips and blew raspberries at no one in particular.
“You’re not being polite. A lot of thought went into your new environment.”
“Please, Cody. Look at me. Talk to me, I’m supposed to be your best friend. What kind of conversation can we have if you won’t even look at me?”
Cody turned to face Lindsay and tap on his watch with her long fingers.
“It’s almost noon. Are you hungry?”
The reply was instant and loud.
“With all the dozens of words you understand,” Lindsay laughed, “you must know every one relating to food.” He stood. “Why don’t we see what’s to eat?”
They walked hand-in-hand to where Cody’s siblings sat sniffing and feeling fruit.
“See, Cody,” Lindsay pointed out. “That’s the way I’ve been showing you how to choose the best fruit. Only, I don’t kiss mangos before I eat them,” he teased.
Lindsay approached Oliver and Tracy, but Cody pulled back.
“Hi, you two,” Lindsay said with a smile. He patted the top of Cody’s head. “It’s okay. I promise.”
The pair didn’t look up from their meal.
With a flick of her free hand, Cody turned and marched away pulling on Lindsay’s arm to follow. Head down and palms faced up, she wiped her eyes and nose on Lindsay’s trousers. Lindsay crouched down. “Cody,” he began quietly, “I know this is all new to you, and you haven’t seen your family for a while, but you will settle in. Things can only improve but this conversation has got to stop being one way. Look at me and tell me what makes you so sad.”
In one huge lunge Cody wrapped her arms around Lindsay and kissed his face then danced around on the spot. She stopped suddenly and grabbed Lindsay’s shirt and tugged a little more than gentle.
Taking the tiny wrists in his hands, Lindsay began to whisper. “I wish you could talk, Cody girl. This is no sign I’ve ever taught you. What is it?”
Cody fell limp in Lindsay’s arms.
“Oh, I get it. You don’t want me to leave.”
The reply was the slowest of nods with a bottom lip that would trip up a python.
“Cody girl, you have been the best chimpanzee I have ever had the pleasure to work with.” He gently lifted his little friend’s chin with two fingers. He looked into her misty eyes. “But,” he continued, “it’s time to be just that—a chimpanzee. You’re the best. You deserve the best. No more bananas for a trick. No more peeled grapes for signing a new word. You’re free.” Lindsay paused. “Well, as free as the government will let you.” He smiled and kissed his girl.
With that, Cody strode in her cute swaying way to the table. She grabbed a banana and took it back to Lindsay, planted a kiss on his cheek and headed back to her family.
Oliver and Tracy looked up at Cody with puckered lips and shaking heads. They squealed in unison. Cody blew raspberries at her siblings and kissed a mango.
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