Out of Sight

Once there was a young wombat named Benson who lived in a safe, comfy wombat hole with his mother and his two aunts, Lillibet and Moss.

Aunt Lillibet joined a jogging club. She had a jogging t-shirt and special leggings and jogging wristbands and a special hat, just for jogging. It had a hole on each side for her ears and big, yellow, tinselly bobbles on it.

Every morning she put on her jogging clothes and her jogging hat. She waited by the front door for her friend Gordon to come jogging past. He always wore his headband and his jogging shorts and his special air-conditioned jogging shoes. He would stop outside, jogging on the spot, and Aunt Lillibet would go jogging out to meet him and they would jog off together down the track.

When they got to Fenella’s house, they would both jog on the spot until Fenella came jogging out. Then the three of them would jog off along the track until they got to Bliss’s house. At Bliss’s house, they all went inside and had a cup of tea because they were all puffed. Bliss never went jogging because of her Bad Leg.

Benson asked his mother, “Why do people go jogging?”

“Exercise,” his mother said. She was hanging the washing on the clothes-line in the sun.

“Like when Mick comes over and we’re getting noisy and you say that we need to go outside and get some exercise?” he asked. “Has Aunt Lillibet been getting too noisy?”

“No, it’s more like they all enjoy having a reason to go to Bliss’s house and have tea and cake,” his mother said.

Aunt Lillibet went jogging with her jogging club on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday it rained, and she said that cold water was very bad for warm muscles so she stayed in bed. On Saturday, Bliss came over with some terrible news.

“The most dreadful thing has happened!” Bliss said. “Gordon has gone blind!”

“Blind?” Aunt Lillibet said. “You mean he can’t see anything?”

“Not a thing!” Bliss said. “He’s completely blind!”

Aunt Lillibet couldn’t believe it. “I can’t believe it!” she said. “How did it happen?”

“It was so sudden,” Bliss said. “One minute he was getting ready to go jogging, and the next minute it was as if all the lights went out at once. He can’t see a thing!”

“How terrible!” Aunt Lillibet said. She was shocked. “You don’t think it had anything to do with all the jogging we’ve been doing?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” Bliss said, “but I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ve always thought that too much exercise is bad for you. You wouldn’t catch me jogging!”

Aunt Moss was very upset when she heard the news. “Poor Gordon!” she said. “He’ll need someone to look after him, and feed him and help him put his clothes on, and lead him around anywhere he wants to go.”

“Like a guide wombat,” Benson said.

“Yes,” Aunt Moss said, “someone to make sure he doesn’t run into things or fall into a hole.”

Benson’s mother said, “It’s very sad. Poor Gordon!”

Later on, Gordon came walking slowly down the track, with his arms held out in front of him. Fenella was holding onto one arm and saying, “Mind the fence!” and “Be careful of the rock!” and “Sorry – didn’t I tell you there was a hole there?” Everyone came out to see him, and tell him how sorry they were that he couldn’t see.

“I’m very sorry, Gordon,” Aunt Lillibet said. “Is there anything we can do to help?”

Gordon said sadly, “I’m afraid we won’t be able to go jogging any more, Lillibet. I can’t even go for a walk by myself!”

“Why does he have his eyes covered up?” Benson whispered loudly.

Aunt Moss shushed him and said, “Sometimes blind people do that.”

Benson’s mother looked at Gordon, and then she looked again. She said, “Just a minute, Gordon.” She went up to him and lifted the covering off his eyes.

“I can see! I can see!” Gordon shouted. “It’s a miracle!” He was so excited, he jumped up and down, and gave Fenella a big, smacking kiss. Fenella went all pink.

Everyone clapped and cheered. They all patted him on the back and said how happy they were that he was cured, then they all went back to Gordon’s house and had a big party to celebrate.

Benson said to his mother, “That was amazing, what you did. How did you fix Gordon’s eyes?”

His mother said, “It was nothing, really. He wasn’t actually blind. His headband had just slipped down over his eyes.”

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