(prompt: 'love' 5/1/2018)
"C'mon Ooroo," Candy seemed to say. "You can do it, I know you can. Watch—" and she demonstrated her version of navigation. Easy for her, these two steps at the end of our long, wooden verandah. By the fourth (or fifth?) attempt, at last the little chap learned his particular translation. His awkward bundle of legs came together for an amazingly graceful leap.
Until I first saw Ooroo, I had not known such pitiful specimens of the usually awe-inspiring kangaroo existed. Sparsely furred and desperately stressed, his tiny shrunken face and huge agonised eyes tragically shared his belief there was nothing left to live for. My heart ached with wanting to ease his fear and pain. This delicate little creature would surely be one of my more miserable rescue failures. Certain we'd be parting company in short order, I named him Ooroo (an old-time farewell in the Australian bush).
I was wrong about the likely survival of this skeletal figure - thankfully. I hadn't taken into account the life-giving love my sweet puppy, Candy would most willingly provide. Every newly reclaimed soul to be saved received a formal introduction to this motherly pup along with a solid lick of approval. Candy cheerfully offered the full gamut of her services—parent, baby-sitter, nanny, big sister, care-giver and protector extraordinaire.
At Ooroo's official welcome he blinked, clicked his tongue several times, and fell in love. I watched it happen. An unexpected lump forms in my throat as I think of these two most unlikely soul-mates. I have no explanation why some animals will declare for friendship whilst others declare war. Simply always been deeply thankful for the acceptance and love in our menagerie.
"Didn't Ooroo love his first warm drink of goat's milk?" Kanute isn't really asking a question. It's more like another picture floating to the surface from the memory album. I nod slowly, picturing that dear scene.
"Oh yes. Life became more liveable by the moment for our baby Ooroo." Tucked into his hanging bed on the back of a chair, he greedily sucked on the special teat. The hot water bottle beneath him, a full, warm tummy and a heap of TLC were the essentials to take him through the night. Next morning found him alive and clicking, his little face peering out anxiously for something safe and familiar. Candy and I waited willingly. His deep need found him with two new mothers.
"Didn't he love 'coming out' from his artificial pouch for his cuddles?" I laugh as I agree, remembering too how eagerly he sought Candy. Nothing compared to her cheerful and enthusiastic clean-up of his face and chest. A routine began that first day. Candy thoroughly washed Ooroo's chin and mouth, then it was his turn. This sweet baby would hold Candy's face with his delicate little paws, and lick off surplus droplets of milk clinging to her whiskers. They talked to each other constantly; he in clicks and her with gentle whines and soft 'woofs'.
"They really thought they were brother and sister," I say.
"And they really thought you were their mother, just like all your pets and rescues. What's that Beatles' song? 'All my Loving'?"
YOU ARE READING
Shhh! Scribbler at WorkShort Story
In 2018, here's another collection of flash fiction (and non-fiction) tales written for the purpose-designed 'Weekend Writein prompts', challenging writers to produce around 500 word stories each time we choose to join the party.