This is part of the April’s A-Z challenge:
The brontosaurus. One of the largest animals to ever walk the planet. And of all dinosaurs, his mother’s favorite.
“Because it can eat from the tops of trees,” she’d said, when they’d been reading a favorite children’s book; the dinosaurs are cut from felt, with button eyes and sequined tails.
In the book, the brontosaurus is eating from a tree of finely embroidered leaves. “It’s like he has his head in the sky,” she’d said. She’d always linger on that page. Touch the embroidered leaves as if they weren’t a photo facsimile.
This was when he was still a toddler, but now that he was in second grade, he was reading actual factual dinosaur books. He didn’t know how to break to his mother the news: that the brontosaurus actually had been more of a land grazer – more like a lawn mower, having used its long neck close to the ground, to reach across wide bushy terrains. It had been too encumbered by its own sheer weight to move freely through tree tops. To keep it’s neck so upright, its head in the sky.
He especially didn’t know how to break the news, as she stood at the sink doing the dishes. Because sometimes, while rinsing a dish, she would look out the window, upwards, past towering pines, and he understood then why she liked the brontosaurus best. Because she might actually imagine herself as one – her sights on the sky, rather than dishes, on the scrubbing burnt rice off the bottom of a pot.
Neither did he tell her about what he’d learned about his own favorite, the Triceratops. The one he liked best because it had those three horns. Disappointed, he’d learned that the horns were not for actual fighting. More to attract girls. And that the T-rex could actually eat him for lunch. The two long-gone dinosaurs had that in common; vegetarian eaters and essentially non-threatening. He adored everything about his mother, the way he could imagine her moving harmlessly through the trees. But he preferred to imagine himself as fierce. Even in his mother’s own loving eyes, and he wasn’t sure why.