She wasn’t yet my wife but I knew we were on our way to making that happen.
We were at Bandipur one morning in January 2005. The trees around the forest office were throwing long shadows. The grass was soft with ungulate shit.
My arm was unbroken. My heart was giddy. And my brain had no say in anything that was going on.
We saw an elephant, me and her.
We remarked that it was cute, me and her.
And then we saw a calf, just a few months old, dart from between the cow elephant’s legs.
An elephant calf.
A baby elephant.
Nature’s instrument of insurmountable cuteness pieced together with everything that connotes ugly in a human frame of reference – dark, hairy, rough-skinned, warty, fat and redolent of piss…
“Wow,” she said.
“Wow,” I echoed.
And nodded. And did other things that indicated agreement.
I was content just looking at it. But she… she wanted to touch it.
It was a tame elephant. And there was a mahout with it. But I, burdened by my faux environmental extremism and other shitshat hangups, came within an elephant’s hair-breadth of screwing up my chances of a lifetime by advising her against it.
In fact, good sense prevailed. I suspended all those silly conflicts for an instant. Lest I regretted them all at leisure for the rest of my wife-less life.
I don’t quite recall what I said to the mahout. But before I knew it she was there next to the cow elephant, looking as wide-eyed and eager as a child gifted with a new puppy. The cow shuffled nervously, but the mahout invited the love of my life to touch the calf.
The calf gave a little whimper and hid near its mother’s hind legs.
The woman of my dreams then reached out and, in one swift movement, clutched the mahout by the hand. Thus anchored, she mustered the guts to stroke the little calf on its back.
Then she scurried back to my side. Beaming.
No one was harmed. Especially no elephants.
It was then that I saw them — the cow elephant’s udders. Tucked between her forelegs (like a human, not like a cow). Moist with the milk of pachyderm kindness.
And I understood that this, our undeniable mammalian affinity to all things living, is what makes women do these cho-chweet things.
And makes us men so desire women.*
I just had to marry this one.
* This is a personal statement and those with strong gay-lesbian feelings and affiliations should just ignore my political incorrectness and move on. Politically, I am supportive of same-sex relationships as long as there’s love there and no one gets hurt. Zoologically, though, I beg to differ. More on that later.