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GORILLA“I love gorillas,” Me said.  “I know you do, He replied. The Ape House at the Berlin Zoo boasts, among other things an interior glass enclosure that brings you face to face with their remarkable residents. The orangatans tumbled, swung and gestured for their own amusement, wrapping themselves in burlap sacks, peeking out from their shawls to see who might be watching.

The great apes languidly inspected their toys, a variety of hanging and walking ropes, and each other with only an occasional glance at the two of us through the expansive panes of glass. Inexplicably there were more of them than people that day. We had the place to ourselves. “They’re beautiful,” He whispered.

The magnificent silverback moved slowly, gently, gracefully to the glass directly in front of me. He sat down. “I wonder if he can hear my heart beating?” Me asked.  “I can,” He said as he put an arm around my shoulders.

Face to face, our eyes met and the largest gorilla I’d ever seen puckered his lips and laid on his back without breaking our gaze. “He’s enormous,” Me whispered. Without thinking, I pressed my left hand to the glass. And then my gorilla, my King Kong, raised his right hand and spread his giant fingers against my own.

“I wonder what he’s thinking. He just keeps looking.” Me said.  “Maybe he’s never seen someone cry before,” He said, “This could take a while. I’m going to take a walk around and I’ll meet you back here.”

So there we stayed my Kong and I, hand to hand, without looking away, for a very long time. Suddenly the entire gorilla family was on the move, across the enclosure, down the ropes moving toward the back. I expect there was food involved. His hand was gone. He ambled away. He did not look back.

“Are you sure you’re ready to go?” He asked as I found him at the door to the Ape House.  “He left,” Me said, “They all left. I think it was feeding time.” “Ah, so he was smart and handsome,” He teased. “Not that smart,” Me said, “He didn’t offer to take me to lunch.”