Margery put the finishing touches on her care package by placing the Valentine’s Day card right on top for her lover to see. The brown cardboard box was filled to the brim with a ton of assorted treats. There were toys, biscuits, candy and of course the card she had carefully spent all night writing. She closed the box and taped up the open flaps. “I love you so much” Margery mouthed to herself as she stood alone in her room.
Margery walked over to her desk where her planner was sitting on top of her zoology textbook and her unfinished homework. Margery hated busy work, she felt as though it distracted her from real world issues. She was more concerned about the polar ice caps melting rather than finishing her unnecessary assignments. Most of the kids at her school really didn’t understand her; she didn’t have many friends and wasn’t involved with any of the clubs at her school. She despised social circles.
An average student at best, she always knew how to get by. She rarely studied, but she never really cared about getting outstanding grades, passing each of her classes with a C. She prepared herself for the next day by laying down on her twin size bed, while shuffling her iPhone through her favorite bands until she fell asleep.
The next day Margery woke up to the rhythmic beating of her alarm clock. She slowly propped herself up in her bed as the sun peered through her window blinds. Margery walked over to her closet and picked out her favorite pair of jeans and her ACDC T-shirt. She slipped on her favorite pair of Chuck Taylors, which were inscribed with all of her favorite song lyrics in permanent marker. She paced around the room, reciting the same phrase over and over: “Today is the day we meet again, today is the day we meet again.”
Opting to eat a quick breakfast, she grabbed a banana, a handful of almonds and swallowed her pills while fumbling with the large duffle bag she packed the night before. As Margery approached her car she realized she was leaving her black hoodie. Throughout her life, Margery was known to forget the simplest of tasks. She would forget to brush her teeth while getting ready for school and her hair was always messy. Not because she didn’t want to look groomed during the day, but she would just simply forget. But, today she would not forget her hoodie, she knew it would be essential in hiding her identity while surprising her lover.
Margery drove furiously down the highway no longer able to contain her excitement. Although Margery was infatuated with seeing him, there was only one problem. They never actually communicated. Over the past few months, she sent letters and gifts but never received anything back. This did not deter her from finally being face-to-face. She wasn’t angry, she was more confused about not receiving anything after months of pouring out her heart. “All this time, I’ve confessed my love for you and I receive nothing in return, you give nothing to show, my heart cries, but today we reunite!” exclaimed the giddy teenager.
Margery looked down at her GPS on her phone, while she balanced the steering wheel with her knees up and down I-40. When the silver Prius finally emerged at the zoo’s gate, the parking attendant collected the quarters Margery saved up for her trip and pointed the car to the nearest parking spot. Margery could feel her heart pounding against her chest.
Before entering the park Margery put on her hoodie and made sure it covered as much of her face as possible. She reached the entrance and knew immediately where to go, her only stop would be to the Big China exhibit. As she reached the exhibit, she avoided all eye contact, nervous that someone would recognize her. She focused on her Chuck Taylors.
The Giant Panda sat behind a glass enclosure and peacefully ate his bamboo. But Margery knew the sight of the panda wasn’t enough, she knew she had to get closer. Although she had tried once before, she knew, this time, nothing was going stop her infatuation. After snapping several pictures with her iPhone, Margery noticed an overhang which would lead her down into the pit. As the zoo workers were more focused on the crowds slowly amassing into the exhibit, Margery found her moment. She ran up the concrete stairs, looked both ways, and started her journey down into the pit where the pandas were sitting.
The crowd was in shock as Margery scaled the rocks as she descended lower and lower.
“You’re going to hurt yourself!” yelled an older woman who looked on in horror.
A group of teenagers pulled out their phones and were quick to add the videos to their Snapchat timelines. They laughed, giggled and encouraged Margery to just “jump” while flipping through the filters.
Margery drowned out the critique of her onlookers as she was determined to reach the bottom of the pit. Zoo security was already aware of the spectacle occurring in one of the most popular attractions and raced over to the edge of the pit.
“Stay away from the pandas!” shouted a bulky security guard as he waddled over the railing.
Margery ignored the warnings and approached the panda which was sitting near the window and attempted to wrap both her arms it. The uncomfortable animal moved away and stared at the unknown intruder. Margery moved over towards him again and wrapped her arms around the unsuspecting panda.
The team of security guards eventually reached the bottom of the exhibit where they were able to pull Margery off of the panda, tackling her to the ground. Margery tried to fight back but was outnumbered by the team of protectors. She continued to struggle and struck one of the guards in the face, creating a small gash. The guard grew angry, picked up the young woman and slammed her to the pavement. Margery’s head bounced off the floor, knocking her out cold.
A few hours later she woke up in a hospital room filled with police officers who were watching the Memphis Grizzlies game.
“Ma’am, do you know what you’ve been charged with?” inquired a police officer as he paced around the room.
“I…don’t know what you are talking about. Where am I?” asked Margery.
“You’re in Baptist Memorial. You attempted to hug and steal a panda today at the zoo. You’ve been charged with inciting a riot and disorderly conduct” replied the policeman.
“Me?! Impossible! The last thing I remember doing was being at home and writing a letter….to my boyfriend… who…” stammered Margery.
Margery closed her eyes and found herself passing out again in her hospital bed as another policeman entered the room.
“Zoo says this isn’t the first time she’s tried this, so we have a repeat offender boys. She has some weird obsession with pandas. I don’t know man…kids are growing up weirder these days,” chuckled the officer.
Fascinated by the impact that literature can have on the lives of others, Dante Pitts has long been an avid writer. Blending his talent for writing with his interest in areas such as art, music and sports, he regularly serves as a thought partner to creative businesses and organizations, such as It’s My Culture.
It’s his belief that by having a platform to share ideas and diverse thoughts, creative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems will be ignited.
Dante currently works as a youth counselor and in his free time enjoys watching and playing a wide array of sports. He is a travel enthusiast and is currently working on developing his sketching skills.
In the future, Dante plans on beginning his own creative agency where he can collaborate with others across various mediums while producing entertaining and innovative content.