Home » Archive » Phoebe’s Zoo Photograph » Page 4

Phoebe’s Zoo Photograph

Page 4

Once during a return home trip, he had suggested taking their children to the Zoo. ‘Just last week I went past Central Park Zoo in NY and thought I should take our kids to a Zoo’. Phoebe countered. ‘I took them last week, they don’t want to go again with you’. She smiled not to him, but at him, then walked out of their white lounge room. Status and position returned.

They had deliberately constructed a static emotionless plank on which each perched safely at opposite ends, they tenuously floated their relationship like a fragile paper boat on a pond. Both did not dare to rock or make waves. It was a continuously vulnerable arrangement hovering over stagnant, icy water.

They both knew it would stay that way until one lost balance, and so continued in a joyless bond with no other purpose than survival of the most stoic, a pact without respite. Molly and Dean watched them like creatures in a Zoo, but these were human animals, their parents, caged in a heartless relationship of endurance with an indeterminate endgame.

It was Molly who found the photo in the secret compartment. She had been going through her mother’s handbag looking for money again, this time to buy Cherry Breezer Alcopops to take to her Grade Six graduation party. Sliding open the zip she first saw a giraffe head set behind two white oval spaces on children’s shoulders with tissue paper thin worn gaps where their faces should have been. She was reminded of alabaster sculptures she had seen in the museum, Greek statues without heads.  She recognized the bodies in the photo as herself and Dean when young, but with their faces rubbed out. She stared at the image, frightened by its ghostliness and grimy condition. She pressed it back down before taking a fifty dollar note. Molly didn’t want to think about the photo or her mother.

Page 4

This edition