During my “retirement summer”, I took a slew of writing tests for copy writing jobs. I eventually turned in a winning assignment and am still employed (yay- it worked!) This particular assignment (not for my current employer) was to write “a turtle’s greatest accomplishment, in first person”

TurtleEvery day is the same. Just after lunch, children race to the back of the room to visit the animals. They fight to hold “Skinny,” an ash-colored rabbit. They take turns feeding “Chomps,” the guinea pig. They even spend a few minutes watching the aquarium, where they’re most fascinated by the crab and inevitably run away screaming once the eel emerges from his hiding place.

They do not visit me.

I stretch my legs and bob my head, hoping to get their attention. I wait. “Chomps” delights the children by eating his excrement. It’s not a trick I’d like to perform.

Once the bell rings, the children place “Skinny” back on his bed of hay with a few treats and run back to their seats for something called “Math.”

And then one day, a new child arrives. She has pigtails and flashes of light under her shoes.  She carries a lunch box with a picture of an animal. I crane my neck to see what it is. A duck? An armadillo? Just a little further. If only she could move to the left…It is a turtle!

After lunch is over, she races to my aquarium and peers in, smiling and clapping her hands. I nearly fall off my rock. She places a finger on the top of my head. It is warm and smells like pears. Then with two hands, she lifts me up and puts me on a table. I take three triumphant steps and see the room for the first time without the glass shield. A few other children join her and place lettuce on my path.

It is the best meal I have ever had.