I didn’t let myself mope around for too long. Mother loves me, so I just need to find her again.
With new found vigour in my steps I stepped outside. The sun was already high in the sky so I needed to get moving. Without looking back once I left behind what had been my home for my whole life.
Since I didn’t know where I was going or where I was compared to where I wanted to be picking a direction was really easy. Any direction is both the wrong and the right direction at the same time, so I arbitrarily chose a random direction.
It did sting a bit to walk past areas I knew and had been at before with mother, so I couldn’t help but long for the unknown. Before long I found myself looking forward to seeing and experiencing new things and I found myself in high spirits.
I would have liked it if my adventure matched my spirits, but the day went on uneventfully. When night came I crawled up in a tree to be safe from the night. I crawled up as high as I could and found a suitable branch to sleep on. For a while I just lay there, watching as the moon rose before my eyelids finally gave up and slowly shut tight.
In the morning I momentarily forgot where I was and almost fell down. Only almost. I swore to myself that I would practice the art of sleeping in a tree and one day conquer the trees. It might sound a bit extreme, but my pride just couldn’t handle that the stupid tree tried to throw me down.
While climbing down I made sure to scratch the tree a fair amount before I finally turned my nose in the same direction as the day before and started walking.
Today, unlike yesterday, I had a concrete mission though! All this wandering had made me thirsty, so while walking I used my prided nose to try and sniff out a nearby source of water. When the sun stood at its highest I finally had some luck and I quickened my steps.
I found myself at the shore of a lake and with little hesitation I plunged my head first into the delicious water. I was so absorbed that it took a moment for me to realize that I was not alone and took a few steps back.
On the opposite shore stood an adult tiger and I tilted my head slightly while I admired her. Her stripes were beautiful. I took a few steps towards her, but she seemed wary of me so I stopped. This was absolutely killing me; why can’t she just let me come closer.
It felt like it took an eternity before I finally found myself next to her. I could maybe have made it faster, but I didn’t want her to run and leave me alone.
I bumped my head against her front leg and rolled around on my back, exposing my stomach in order to leave a good impression.
To my surprise she laid down on her side, and slowly I crawled over and nestled myself against her belly. It was nice, warm and felt safe. But, this isn’t right. There is something missing. Reluctantly after snuggling for what only felt like a brief moment I got up and ran off. I had to go fast, else I would be tempted to go back. I couldn’t stay, I was on an adventure.
I first slowed down when her scent was no longer in the air. That was a close call, I need to be careful around the alluring power of warm tiger bellies.
I don’t know for how many days I wandered through the forest. The days started melting together until I could no longer tell them apart. I only knew one thing, I had to head towards the sun. Occasionally while I wandered on my lonely journey I thought back on the tiger I met at the lake. Maybe leaving had been a mistake. I couldn’t help but thinking so since I hadn’t met another tiger or anything for that matter and I felt the loneliness gnaw at my heart. The only salvation was that I had at least conquered the trees, though in the big picture I found that it made little difference.
Because of this I was beyond ecstatic when I one day shortly before the sun would set encountered something new. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Instead of a forest, what met my eyes was the distinct lack of a forest. All my life I had lived in a forest that the thought of something else had never occurred to me. This vast, open plain sparked my curiosity and I felt refreshed. At the same time I felt anxious at being in this new place, there were no trees to shelter you and I felt strangely naked.
I turned around and walked back into the forest to find a tree for the night. Tomorrow, I told myself, tomorrow I will go and explore this strange, new place.