The Museum

By Claude

We would run straight from school, past the pool, then turn right over the bridge towards the park. The flowers on the sides of the road smelling so sweet, but the buzz of a thousand bees keeping us at bay.

Eventually, out of breath, we would arrive at the "big steps". Already the spray from the fountain would start to wet our hot and sweaty shirts, and a few splashes from the pool around the always changing jets of water would leave us cool and wet. Past the spray, now walking slowly, we would walk chatting towards the huge, doughnut shaped building.

On our left, behind the tall hedge and imposing fence, stood the frighteningly silent Railway Museum. Rumours were that the ghosts of people squashed by the trains haunted the place, and we were careful not to make too much noise as we went past.

Once inside the cool interior of the museum we would put our cases down on the left by the curio stand, and stare in awe at the huge elephant and the other animals in front of us. Soon we were off to see the barbell and electric eel, and to gaze disappointedly at the "mermaid".

Next to see the bushman, knives, spears and beadwork. Pressing the buttons on the big board would light it up like a Christmas tree, showing the movement of some long forgotten battles, and close by we admired the bright uniforms of soldiers of days gone by. Then we would rush through the butterfly collection, only stopping to see the giant moths, before losing ourselves in the imaginary flights and fights of vultures and eagles. After our soaring and planning high over the bush, having chased and hounded invisible rabbits and rats, it was off to see the dinosaurs.

What frightening animals they must have been, with huge bodies and deadly tails. Their glassy eyes staring, their mouths seeming to open wider as we walked past. We would sit on the floor, our backs to a cold glass case, and play the "what-if" game.

"What-if I was a Triceratops, and you were a caveman?" one would say.
"What-if I was a Pterodactyl and you were an ostrich?" another would reply.
Cast back into a savage and primitive world, our minds painting pictures worthy of a Jules Verne novel, we would stare at the exhibits and experience amazing adventures together, the rest of the world forgotten for a while.

But soon, too soon, it would be time to go. Time to go! No way! Not before rushing to the rocks and stuff site, to see the radioactive stones (when you pushed the yellow button), convinced that it was Kryptonite, the only stuff that could hurt Superman, then to the gold and diamonds, and new secret plans on how we would break in, like the Mission Impossible team, with cables and disguises, to steal all the precious stones and buy a game ranch.

Finally with minutes to spare, we would go through the mine, into the darkness, with the rumble of falling rocks and the cries of men in the distance, before emerging on the other side, thankful to have survived, and already planning our next visit to our special place of excitement and imagination.

The Bulawayo museum