The ostrich marches on board with a quite particular step. ‘It is,’ he says, ‘the embarkation that gives most pleasure’, and then he dips his head shyly, looking overboard to blow a kiss at the shoal of fishes. They dart away, startled, into the turquoise shadows, swimming to the rhythm of a different drum. The ostrich stands like a rock in the sunshine for a moment and looks over his shoulder. There’s no-one there. He turns to Noah.
‘Should there not be two of us,’ he asks. ‘I think there should be two of us’.
Noah looks the other way.
of a problem there,’ he says. ‘Accommodation on board a bit tight.
You know how it is. All the rooms connected. And so many have brought
gifts, such riches, but they all take up space. So there’s only a
single cabin for you.’
The ostrich droops. The joy goes out of
his day. He feels that tristesse, that melancholy that has assailed him
all his life when plans go wrong.
Noah watches. ‘Would you like
a drink of punch?’ he asks, hopefully. ‘It’s on the rancid side,
having come by sea in a barque, but I know your tastebuds aren’t what
they were, so I’m sure you’ll like it. And I know there’s no room for a
partner, but I have got you a little friend…’ And out of his pocket he
produces a thrush.
The copyright of this post belongs to Jill Glenn