Is It Possible To Tell What’s Really on the Inside?
While our dear little Witchy was living deep in the heart of the Transylvania Forest, she never saw a cheetah.
“That’s because there aren’t any living there,” she offers, once again reading over my shoulder.
“I know, Witchy. I was getting to that…” I guess I don’t need to say it now.
Anyway…she’s been enjoying learning about lots of new things now that she’s having a fresh start in England.
There aren’t any cheetahs here either — not naturally, I mean, but there is a beautiful sanctuary for these magnificent endangered animals. It’s called the Hamerton Zoo Park and I took Witchy to see these gorgeous big cats.
“Liberty! They’re so beautiful!” I swear she was gushing like Old Faithful.
“Yeah, and look at those babies! Aren’t they cute?”
“I want one for a pet,” Witchy grinned. “Look how fuzzy they are! Just like a stuffed toy!”
“Uh, yeah…but…they grow up, Witchy. And your cottage is very tiny.”
“It’s not that tiny!” she pouted, folding her arms across her chest.
“I know. You have an adorable home. But it’s not big enough for a full-grown cheetah. Besides, a cheetah would be happier here where he could play with all the others.”
“I’d play with him — a lot!”
“I’m sure you would, Witchy. But…remember how it felt to leave your home? You left everyone and everything familiar and it’s been so hard for you, starting over in a strange, new place.”
“Yes, but I love it here now!”
“I know you do but you didn’t always feel that way. Would you really want to take a baby cheetah away from his mama and all of his family and friends? Wouldn’t it be better to just leave him here where he’s already happy?”
Gazing wistfully at the cheetahs, she sighed and nodded. “Yes. I guess so.”
“I knew you’d understand.”
“I’m sad though. I wanted to play connect-the-dots with him.”
“Yes. I have all those colourful felt pens and he has all those wonderful dots.”
Oh, my…Where does she get these ideas?
“Do you know if their inside spots are the same colour as their outside spots?”
“Uh…I don’t know, Witchy. I never thought about them having inside spots before.”
“They must have them. Why wouldn’t they look the same on the inside as they do on the outside?”
“Because…well…I’m not saying they do or they don’t. And I don’t know if they even have spots on the inside because whatever is in there is hidden from us. We can guess at what we might find — ”
“Turtles? Why turtles?”
“I don’t know. I thought you wanted me to take a guess.”
“Uh, not exactly, Witchy. I just meant…sometimes what you see isn’t the whole story. Take the surface of the ocean— ”
“How do I do that?”
“You can’t. It’s an expression.”
“English is so hard.”
“It does have its moments…Anyway, think about the surface of the ocean. It might be calm with quiet little waves rolling in. But you can’t see that there’s lots of activity deep down with lots of kinds of fish being busy doing their fish things.”
“Oceans are busy!”
“Busier than you might think. It’s the same with the cheetahs. We see spots on the outside and we can imagine that maybe they have pink stripes on the inside — ”
“Why not? We have no idea what’s going on inside the cheetahs. We might even find green squares — ”
“Green squares? Ew. I wouldn’t like to find out that there are green squares in there!” Witchy wrinkled her nose.
“What’s the problem with them?”
“I don’t like green squares. That just doesn’t sound right to me.”
“What if it sounds right for the cheetah?”
“It wouldn’t. It just — wouldn’t.”
“Maybe the cheetah likes green squares.”
“Yes. We’ve established that.”
“That would just be weird.”
“What? A cheetah liking green squares?”
“No. A cheetah having green squares on the inside. Maybe green zigzags. I like zigzags. But not squares.”
“So you’d be okay if the cheetah had green zigzags on the inside but not squares.”
“What have you got against squares?”
“I just don’t like them.”
“You just don’t like them.”
“For no particular reason?”
“I have a reason.”
“They just don’t belong on the inside of a cheetah. There shouldn’t be any squares in there.”
“How did you come to that decision?”
“I’m sure anyone would.”
“But you might like them if you saw them.”
“No. I wouldn’t.”
“So…you’ve just decided, then, that if the cheetah had green squares on the inside, you wouldn’t like that.”
“That’s right. I hope he doesn’t have those.”
“Why? I mean, if you can’t even see them and they’re not bothering you?”
“It would bother me knowing they’re in there.”
“Why is that?”
“I don’t know. I just don’t like it. Besides, they’d be pointy on the corners. Wouldn’t they hurt the cheetah?”
I drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly.
“I don’t think so, Witchy. Certainly no more than green zigzags.”
Witchy was thoughtful for a moment.
“Hm. I guess that’s true. I’m pretty sure the cheetah would be the same on the inside as he is on the outside anyway.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Well, why would it be any different? It wouldn’t make sense for them to be different on the inside than they are on the outside.”
“Wouldn’t make sense? What do you mean?”
“I mean…what’s that thing I’ve heard people say…what you see is what you get?”
“Well…yes…but — ”
“So I guess if I see spots on the outside, the cheetah will be the same on the inside?”
“I’m so confused.”
“Okay, Witchy, what if there were purple spots on the inside?”
“Oh, yes! Purple spots! I love purple! It’s my favourite!”
“I know you do, Witchy. And it looks so good on you.”
“Thank you!” She twirled and her hat slid sideways while her dress floated around her like a purple cloud. “I like thinking that maybe cheetahs have purple spots on the inside.”
I shrugged. “Perhaps they do. Would you like the cheetah with his purple inside spots?”
“What if you became best friends?”
“That would be so much fun!”
“And what if one day, you found out his purple inside spots had turned to green squares?”
“Hm. I wouldn’t like those.”
“But would you still like the cheetah?”
“Yes! He is my best friend! And…well…I wouldn’t actually see the green squares so…I guess it wouldn’t matter. Especially if he likes them. Then it would be extra dumb for me not to like them. Or not to like him because he liked them. I mean, they’re not even my squares.”
“You’re right, Witchy. It wouldn’t matter. Besides, unless we see for ourselves what’s on the inside, we’ll never know for sure. Even if the cheetahs tell us, how do we know it’s true?”
“Would they make it up?”
“They might. Or maybe they just think they know but they’re wrong.”
“So maybe the cheetahs don’t even know what’s in there?”
“That could be true.”
“Maybe they don’t care.”
“And maybe it’s a secret.”
“And…maybe…it really shouldn’t matter.”
Bingo, Witchy. Bless your dear heart.
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