Kuja, Part II
The job was a dream. Often I was at the zoo from midnight til 8am, 7 nights a week. Every few hours, formula was prepared; baby was fed, burped, and weighed; records were scrupulously kept; diapers were changed and baths given as needed. We bonded and initially he spent long hours asleep in my arms or in his crib. As he grew, he became active and wanted to play with his toys and explore. He enjoyed looking at picture books and watching TV. He started eating spinach, carrots, and other flavors spoonfed to him out of a babyfood jar. I can still feel his fingers touching my face as he stared up at me, mapping every detail.
Those nights at the zoo were memorable. So much goes on when the last visitors leave and the zoo gates are locked behind them. Sometimes when Kuja was sleeping I would step outside and talk to the animals in neighboring exhibits. At dusk, shy creatures showed themselves and became active. Animals that had been sleeping in the heat of the day began to stir. As the sun went down, the zoo took on a completely different aspect in the dark: the grounds echoing with animal sounds, the exhibits alive with moving shadows. Sometimes I stayed on till the end of the following day if someone had a day off or couldn’t come in to relieve me. I lived at the zoo and that was fine by me.
Almost from day one, Kuja was strong enough to do a complete chin-up. If he didn’t get his way or get something he wanted fast enough, his lips would purse, fists would clench, until he vented his frustration with a powerful, high-pitched shriek of rage completely out of proportion to his size ( a sound meant to bring every member of a wild gorilla group rushing to the aid of an infant in danger).