Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Turtle Turmoil

The children found a turtle in our front yard. She was just a little painted turtle, but her name was June by the time they ran inside to ask if they could keep her. Steve thought maybe they could, but I hesitated. We decided to decide while we took a walk. June was left in a cardboard box in the garage.
            “A pet is a lot of work.” I couldn’t believe the words were coming out of my mouth. Was I that old already, to have children at the age for The Pet Talk?
“We would have to get an aquarium and some rocks; she can’t live in a cardboard box.” Steve was planning already.
“Can we get pink rocks?” Noelle asked.
“Who will pay for it?”
            “How much does it cost?” Holly asked.
            “The turtle will need to be fed every day.”
            “I’ll do that,” Laura promised. Her voice had that almost-crying quiver and her eyes were moist with the thought of not keeping June.
            “What about cleaning the aquarium?”
            No answer.
            The matter was still not decided upon our return home.
            As we opened the garage door, the cardboard box wiggled and jittered as June, in a turtlian acrobatic feat, stood up on her hind legs in an effort to escape. The children rushed to the box and peered inside. After an extended pause, there was a communal “ewwww” mixed in with a “yuck!”
            In her fervor to escape, June had done her business. It was all over the bottom of the box and all over her.
            No one would pick her up now.
            The children, solemnly, with the air of a funeral procession, carried the box down the street to the pond. June crawled out of the box, her rough flipper-like feet scraping against the cardboard, and hurried toward the water that sparkled in the evening sun. As she reached the tall grass at the edge of the water, she hesitated. In their haze of quick-lived but ardent infatuation, the children could almost see her turn and, with a glimmer of moisture in her eye, raise a foot in farewell before she glided into the water and disappeared underneath.
            Catch and release only.

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1 comment:

I so much appreciate your time and effort in leaving a comment, and I try to respond to as many as time permits. :-)