The text on the image reads
I wanted to be invisible, the maker behind the screen.
This one time in Kenya, my friend Dea and I were the only guests still awake and watching animals outside the Ark Lodge. The power went out. The night guard escorted us back to our room and requested that we stay put while he braved the night and all the animals to go turn the generator back on. It sounded like a long drive followed by a long hike.
Dea and I did not stay put.
I don't remember who instigated what, and I will likely get some events out of order. The details are fuzzy today.
We grabbed our flashlights and explored everything available. The lodge has a number of different viewing levels so that guests can hang out in the safety of the structure behind walls and/or glass to watch the animals do their thing in the wilderness below. Essentially, the humans are in a cage for their safety. We agreed to this. When the danger is outside, you can't really see it, and you have no protection except putting walls around you, it makes sense to me to rely on walls for this. But I digress.
Eventually, we ended up on the ground floor. The same ground that the animals were on. In the first section, there was thick glass between us and nature. The second section was a stone turret sort of a thing with high, open gaps. We were in there earlier (I think) and bats were flying in and out. While we were deciding whether or not to enter that section, Dee (I think) suggested that we turn off our lights to, you know, see what the animals see, enjoy the darkness.
It was both a good idea and a terrible idea.
All I remember are hyena faces.
The light stopped bouncing back at us off the glass. The moonlight or something won out. Hyena faces, scads and scads of them, were right there staring at us, ears up. Hyenas being hyenas.
We opted to not go into the turret with the open gaps. I don't even remember lingering for photos. Some sort of primal awareness of vulnerability and visibility happened in that instant.
I'll save you from my philosophical ramblings and end here noting that I forgot I still owned this pretty, pretty top. It's burned out velvet and tassels, a la the early 2000s. It makes me feel like dancing. I just don't want anyone to see.