For the umpteenth time, I shore I would never listen to my classmate’s advice concerning matters of the heart. His preliminaries were so convincing but in reality they invited problems I could not control.
“Bring her to the zoo! She will love the animals. She will think you’re caring and kind.”
“You think so?” I could not be sure if his expert advice had psychological basis. “There are too many children about.”
“That’s a plus, man! She’ll think you’ll be a good husband.”
“What are you talking about? I don’t want to get married yet.”
“Don’t think too far ahead. Just do as I say and you won’t go wrong.”
Those exchanges revolved in my head while the girl beside me was clueless why I did not bring her somewhere else, places where peace and quiet was conducive to heavenly whispers.
We strolled the dirt path inside the premises. Her white dress accumulated dusts along the way.
“This is nice,”I warmed up, “so many animals here.”
“Of course,” she was serious, “this is a zoo.”
“I mean, the place is great. Children everywhere.”
“If you like to see children, let’s go to a school instead.”
She was not enjoying the date. In fact, she hated every minute of it.
“Oh, there!” I pointed out to a large cage, “he’s the main attraction here.”
Obviously, it was her first time to visit the particular zoo so her face brightened up a bit upon hearing a curiosity.
“Why? What’s so special about him?
“He’s an actor. Shout some words in English and he’ll do it.”
“Really?” She wanted to see it with her own eyes to believe.
There was a metal railing, three meters from the cage, to separate beast from his audience.
“Hey! George, sit!” she hollered excitedly.
The playful gorilla sat instantly on a bale of hay. He held a ripe banana in one hand.
“See! He’s so adorable.” I clapped enthusiastically.
Suddenly, the moment began to bring positive results.
For a few more minutes, we were regaled by George’s antics.
We did not expect new company as a group of boys in disheveled clothes appeared beside us. They, too, would probably like to see what we were enjoying.
“Come here, George!” shouted the leader of the pack. “Come, boy!”
The gorilla stood at the face of his cage waiting for a new command.
Without warning, bad boy, as I later tagged him, shouted, “Spit, George!”
I was so incensed at the group’s arrival that I stared at them angrily while they scampered away like interrupted chickens.
When I looked back at my girl, I was horrified. She stood frozen stiff, surprised to the maximum.
I mumbled my apologies repeatedly as I escorted her to the nearest comfort room. I could not say if she was angry at me or the boys or the gorilla or to all of us who indirectly connived to give her the most embarrassing moment in her life.