Tigger is bouncing.
I’m swallowing a pint, trying to drown my anger and sorrow. Rabbit’s still pissed at me for being an idiot, and Owl won’t stop shaking his head when he sees me.
Tigger is still bouncing. It’s what Tiggers do best, I hear.
Not even Eeyore will talk to me. Eeyore the loner. Eeyore the cynic. He glares at me like I’m worthless, a pile of dirt manifested into a walking form and wandering round, hitting on chicks, getting in his face.
Tigger says I should bounce with him. Says it’ll be good for me, bouncing.
He never stops bouncing.
He didn’t stop bouncing when Roo died.
Kanga just sits in her house and cries, and cries some more, and Tigger bounces round like nothing happened.
Where is Piglet? Probably at Rabbits’, bitching. Bitching about me and my sad, pathetic existence. We fell apart. Yet we still see each other. An endless stream of wood as far as the eye can see and we still see each other. He looks at me with despair. It’s weirdly comforting.
Tigger says, come on, bounce. Get it all out of your system. Bounce around a bit, feel alive, feel young. He says it all with a smile. I want to wipe it off his face.
I tell him to shut up, that I’m going out and for God’s sake don’t follow me. He looks hurt, slightly. He still bounces.
I slam the door on him, on my house, my life. I tell myself, I’m just gonna walk.
Walk and walk and walk. Away from these people who look at me with the disgust and the hatred. They all hate me, and I understand why. I just don’t need to be reminded about it.
Maybe I just need to escape.
Not my fault the balloon exploded.
Maybe I just need to get out of here.
I blame Christopher Robin, but I have no reason to. He left us a year or so back, said he needed to grow up, find a woman, get a job, all the things a real man should do. He left that night with a tatty suitcase and a head full of hope. We never heard from him after. We assume something Very Bad happened to him.
I bet Tigger’s raiding my cupboard now, the damn thief. I bet I’ll get back and find half my stuff gone.
Screw it. I’m not going back. I’m going to walk through the woods and get out of here. I’ll kill a Heffalump if I have to. Screw it. I’ve had enough.
The worst part is the way Kanga looks at me.
Try and break away from that thought.
Don’t think about that.
Don’t think about the sorrow in her eyes, the tears that stream down her face, that one unanswered question ringing out from her mouth every time I see her.
Why? she cries. Why? Why my little Roo? Why did you take him away from me? Then she droops her head and the Sobbing starts, with the Heavy Breathing and all that unpleasantness. Then the vacancy in her eyes, a deep pool of black that goes on to eternity. Every day I try and talk to her and every day she cries and stares, and one day I snap and shout, well, maybe it was his fault. Maybe you shouldn’t have left him to wander around, huh, Kanga? Maybe it’s not my fault your son’s dead. Maybe you were just a terrible mother.
I regret nothing. So I tell myself.
Tigger said it was part of the healing process. That it had to happen eventually. He told me next time I should just bounce instead of shout. I broke his nose.
I’m walking and I’m walking and all I can think about is Kanga, her fur wet with tears, her pouch empty, a twitch in her arm that is becoming more evident every day. Owl giving her advice and her sending him away; stupid Owl, you wouldn’t understand. Rabbit doesn’t bother with any of this. Rabbit goes about his day like it’s every other day, protecting his carrots from Tigger.
Rabbit says he saw Kanga hanging around when it happened.
Rabbit glares at me and says I don’t think you meant to do it Pooh Bear, but you could’ve done something to save the poor kid.
I’m turning and heading back now. Words and phrases are going through my head and for the first time I process them, make them real, think about them for more than a fleeting second.
Owl saw it all happen. He says Kanga was looking anxious and twitching more than usual. He just assumed it was because of the heights Roo was reaching.
A height that kills a joey as it hits the ground in a horrifying squelch next to a yellow bear standing shocked to the spot, all eyes on him, trying to avoid the bloody mess near the tree.
I’m running now. I may be the bear with a slow brain, but now my mind is working faster than ever.
Those nights that Kanga and I spent together, we don’t speak about. She left Roo with Rabbit and we made each other feel whole again. Kanga used to say that she’d never felt so much love. She’d never felt like she’d really had someone’s attention before, not in the amount I was giving her. That she’d do anything to keep it.
She said people ignored her, and she wanted to be seen.
For a brief moment, Tigger comes back into my mind, bouncing, always bouncing.
Not like Kanga bounced.
That thought makes me grimace. What was I thinking? If the others had found out we would’ve been kicked out of the woods.
I’m back at our makeshift town, and I’m panting and I’m starving and I have to find Kanga. Have to expose her.
Roo used to say his mother could hit a pot of hunny from hundred yards with her peashooter.
Said she was the best shot in the whole hundred acres.
Tigger’s still bouncing in my living room, and Kanga’s sitting on my sofa, twitching uncontrollably, staring off into space.
Tigger can be so insensitive.
So can I.
I try and shout but can’t. She’s crying. It makes me want to put my arms round her and give her a hug, tell her it’s all okay. It isn’t. She isn’t.
Instead I growl, fiercely. You killed him.
Kanga stops twitching and her head shoots up to look me deep in the eyes. She says, “what?”
You. You killed him. You blamed it all on me, let them crowd around you with their sympathy and kindness, and you lapped it up.
Tigger stops bouncing. Good. That shows how huge this is.
Kanga stares at me, her eyes wide. “No,” she says, “Why would I do such a thing?” But she doesn’t cry anymore. She just yells, “No, never. How could anyone be so cruel?”
Tigger stares at her, his mouth shut. He’s still as a mouse.
Tigger whispers, “Kanga?”
Kanga gets angry. She leaps to her feet, and with that sudden jerk a small object is thrown out of her pouch and lands on my couch.
It’s a tube, which, with just the right amount of air pushed through, would be able to fire an object about the size of a pea.
If that pea was particularly cold, it might even burst a balloon, which would be unfortunate, especially if there was a little marsupial grabbing onto the string, screaming, mummy, mummy, help me mummy as he falls to the ground.
Kanga goes berserk. She screams, “What other choice did I have? You never paid enough attention to me. I had to do something.” She turns to me and yells, “Our fling didn’t make me feel loved. It made me feel sick.”
Tigger is rooted to the spot. I’m fuming, angry with myself, disgusted at her. What kind of person would perform such an atrocity to get attention? That’s beyond messed up.
Kanga storms out of the house, and we follow her. Rain falls heavily through the trees, clouds covering up a bright full moon, and Kanga slows her pace as she sees what’s ahead.
The animals of the Hundred-Acre Wood stopped her.
They said, we heard everything.
They said, you could’ve just told us.
Kanga screamed at them to move.
They stood still in a line.
Tigger and I blocked all her escape routes.
Rabbit bounced forward and said, you don’t deserve to live.
Eeyore, the silent one, lunged at Kanga’s throat.
Blood flew and landed on the ground.
No one moved.
Eventually, even Kanga was still.
It wasn’t quite justice. But it was enough.