Monday, August 28, 2006
Meet Francois. In this picture, he’s being a little bit camera shy; hiding in the corner between the door and the wall. He moved in while I was gone and took up residence in the corner of my room between the mattress and the wall. He must have thought it was a rather nice place – quiet and dark with no one bothering him and asking all sorts of questions like, ‘who are you?’ and ‘what are you doing here?’. And then I come home and burst in. Seeing that my mosquito net is covered with dead bugs and my mattress soaked by the many recent rainstorms I go about making lots of noise, taking the net down, moving the mattress and, suddenly, there he is. Trying to hide; completely taken aback by all the light and noise. Although he gave me a start we became quick friends. He didn’t try to hide or run off - just kind of sleepily and warily eyed me as I stood there and eyed him. I’d like to say that we had a moment, Francois and I.
But then, I came back to my senses and took to eyeing all the hedgehog poo he’d messily left around the bed and said, as apologetically as possible, ‘one of us has to go.’ He didn’t budge. I tried to scoot him out the door with my shoe but it seemed so cruel to send him packing off in the broad daylight like that. So, he cuddled up between the door and the wall and I left him there.
I find that I’m becoming more sympathetic to living things after being in Darfur for five months now. I can’t stand to just wash bugs down the shower or crush ants on the pavement. I can’t stand for things to suffer and die – especially smaller, helpless things, even if they are a nuisance and poo around the bed. Maybe it’s misplaced sympathy.
Later that night some friends came over and we sat in the candlelight talking about our jobs and politics and books and other places in the world we’d like to be when out strolls Francois. He didn’t make a scene; didn’t pack a bag; didn’t tell me where he was going or when he’d be back. He just kind of trundled off and hasn’t been back since. I miss him already.