This morning I feel the need to purge my soul and confess one of my deepest, darkest secrets. Please don’t share this with anyone else but …there’s another man in my life.
I know, I know! My husband, Honey Buns, is the most amazing man I’ve ever met and he treats me like a queen and he’s my best friend and we still act like teenagers when we’re together, but there’s just something about this other man that I can’t quite explain. He’s not exactly attractive. In fact, he doesn’t have a single hair on his body and his skin is really rough and dry. Doesn’t actually have teeth either but he never smiles so you hardly notice that part. He doesn’t have a job and he’s extremely slow and lazy. He’s very aloof and standoffish and avoids me whenever he sees me so I’ve never actually touched him.
I guess you could call this an affair of the heart. That sentence is much cooler if you play Rick Springfield’s 80’s hit song “Affair of the Heart” in your mind as you read it. Or at least that’s what happens with me.
But here’s the weird part: he’s a turtle. Ok, technically he’s a “tortoise” but here in the South the terms turtle and tortoise are interchangeable. Sort of like how we’ll ask someone, “Hey, you want a Coke? What kind?” and then they’ll ask for a diet Pepsi. Anyway, he’s a turtle/tortoise and his name is Tommy.
Having an innocent little crush on a turtle isn’t all that weird. My niece, Brandie, had a crush on a Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtle once. I think it was Leonardo. And she was 6. But, still ...
I first met Tommy when my husband and I moved out to the boonies 20 years ago, and he hasn’t aged a bit. He’s one of our neighbors and hasn’t done much of anything for the last 20 years except come out of his burrow to chew some grass and warm himself in the sun when the weather was agreeable. For years he’s ignored me as I walked by him on our dirt road. Ignored me when I passed by him in my convertible (top down and music blaring, of course.) Ignored me when we’d ride bikes with our kids. Ignored me during my brief career as a jogger. No, actually he didn’t ignore me then, he set up a lawn chair by the road and ate popcorn and laughed as I gimped by looking more like an extra from the Walking Dead set than I wanted to.
We’ve tried over the years to gain his friendship, to no avail. One Christmas we hung a pine wreath near his front door. Never made his Christmas card list. One 4th of July we stuck an American flag in the dirt and a few times caught him gazing at it but never got a wave of thanks.
But a few days ago he stopped giving me the cold shoulder and I was so taken aback I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was on my way home after teaching preschool and there he was, sitting perfectly still on the side of the road.
I stopped my car and grabbed my camera which is always close at hand. I figured he’d bolt as soon as I took a step towards him but he stayed put.
I advanced a little closer.
I couldn’t believe what was happening. This was the closest I had ever gotten to him in the entire 20 years of our relationship! I totally lost my mind and sprawled out on my belly across the dirt road and started snapping away with my camera. I wondered if maybe I could get close enough for a selfie to use as my new Facebook profile picture. Me and Tommy, together at last!
But apparently he has a fear of paparazzi and on about the third flash he bolted straight at me. I couldn’t tell if he was angry or overcome with affection so I panicked and bolted as well.
So that’s where we stand, right back where we started. Me awkwardly trying to catch a glimpse of him and him ignoring me every time he sees me. It never would have worked out anyway. Besides, the Game Warden just dropped off the restraining order so I guess that’s that.
But, man, there’s this bullfrog down at our pond ...