Grow up, said the man to the cheetah.
The cheetah looked at the man, shrugged his shoulders, and then darted away into the reeds.
Grow up, said the man to the giraffe.
The giraffe could barely hear the man from way down below. He leant closer, and huffed in the man's face. The man repeated himself. The giraffe took it to heart, and thought, yes, I can grow taller. So he stretched himself up on his legs and pushed his nose closer to the cloud puffs hovering, just out of reach in the light blue sky. He was too busy nosing upwards that he didn't notice til much later that the man had walked away.
Grow up, said the man to the dog.
The dog barked twice and then fetched the man a stick.
Grow up, said the man to his reflection in a pool.
And then burst out laughing at the funny face that stared back.
Grow up, whispered the lover to the man.
Down went the children's book about bees and birds and giraffes and dogs and cheetahs and selves.
The man stood up, gingerly kissed a sleeping child goodnight, and shut the nursery door quietly, behind him.
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