Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hatchlings: A Love Story

The sun came up and revealed the dozens of tiny eggs laying on the damp patch of sand. The eggs were from many mothers who lived within the same community, and shared the same customs, and often the very chore of raising the young into independent young turtles. Hatchling A poked his head right through his shell, looked around, and promptly started to cry as there was no one there to tend to his needs. Instantly, his mother recognized his wails as her own offspring, and came forward to tend to his needs. Feeling secure and loved, he followed her back to their den. There was a cozy fire burning, a big pot of savory stew cooking for dinner, and papa turtle sitting in his worn recliner chair smoking his pipe. Hatchling A, which they began calling Frank, sidled up to his father and listened closely to his every word. The elder tortoise loved teasing his brood. It was his nature, and indeed if too long a period went by with no teasing from Papa, his children would grow depressed, for this was how they knew that they were loved. 'Frank my son, what happened to your tail? Why, it's so short, it looks as though a confused fish mistook it for a worm, and bit it off!' Frank smiled, knowing that his father was very fond of him now. The seasons drifted one into the other, and pretty soon it was time for Frank to go out and start a family of his own. There was a rumor going around that arriving into this world on the same day as Frank was a very serious young female hatchling who lived on the other side of the island. Euridice, as she was called, grew up in an entirely different world than Frank. Her parents were very young, and didn't quite know how to care for their little hatchling. They only knew how to take care of their own needs and desires, and this they did very well. There were always half empty bottles of expensive wine sitting about the house from the previous night's party. Her father, being the traditional nomadic polygamist of his tribe, had invited his new wife to come live with them. Euridice was then given even less attention than before, and what's worse, was delegated to wait on the new wife, who wasn't much older than she was. The father was often absent due to long hours spent at the office. This was a good thing for Euridice and her siblings, as he was a moody man, and given to wild outbursts with little provocation. But the family tradition she least adored was that of the constant criticisms. Nothing was good enough for her father, and his tirades when displeased were tireless and exhausting. He could spend hours yelling about how the chicken she cooked for the family dinner was not big enough to feed the whole family, and then he would continue on until a diagram of the anatomy of a full grown chicken was mapped and drawn and hanging from the kitchen wall for all to examine. She couldn't take him too seriously, but still, she often wished that there was someone out there who might appreciate her. Despite her desires, she had a strong mistrust of most people, and who could blame her. When all you knew was criticism and contempt, where does love fit in? But she knew how to love and care for the poor and helpless creatures of the world. She was always rescuing drowning ants, and abandoned baby birds. So one day as she was searching for water for their camels, she spied a new turtle. She hid behind an acacia tree. It was Frank. The community where her family lived had several families, and it was miles away from other communities. She knew everyone well, but this turtle she had never seen before. She peeked her nose out from behind the tree to get a better look at the stranger. He had disappeared! She was so confused, and then she felt a small tug on her tail. She turned around quickly to scold whoever was annoying her (she really abhorred her tail being pulled), and there was Frank, acting non-challant and casual, though a turtle with such a short tail in her neighborhood was certainly an odd sight. 'I'd appreciate it if you refrain from grabbing my tail like that' she retorted coolly. 'If you are trying to impress me, you're not doing so well'.. Frank was not used to such a cold reception, and wasn't sure how to respond. In his world, a nice, firm tail-grabbing is just a way of starting a conversation. He started to walk backwards very slowly. Euridice noticed that the bright smile he was wearing initially had completely vanished and was replaced by a distant look of sadness. She realized that she really needed to see that smile again. She wasn't sure why, but she felt if she didn't see it again, she would die of thirst. So she abandoned her chores, and came over to Frank, and was more courteous. She told him it wasn't so terrible that he grabbed her tail, it just startled her is all. He really didn't understand her, but decided to stay and chat just the same. He didn't have turtles like Euridice in his village, and he thought her soft little shell needed someone like him to look out for it.

11 comments:

Jon said...

Very nice. But why did they not drink all the wine?

Anonymous said...

For all you Hatchlings out there, bit of advice. Maybe Hatchling A, instead of pulling Hatchling B's tail should find a new way of getting her attention. I suggest tapping her on the shoulder. That way it won't startle or annoy her.

Anonymous said...

Tamar: Nice story. I've definitely over analyzed this, but I'm curious why Frank thought it was OK to pull Euridice's tail when she definitely wasn't OK with it. Are there's different cultures in turtle-land?

We've got to know how the story turned out. Since the title indicates "A Love Story", what happens To Frank and Euridice.

Kevin

clement said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
clement said...

Hello Kevin, apparently you didn't read the whole story. Frank and Euri/ydice come from two very different turtle colonies and they have been raised by two extremely different parents, so it seems to me that the cultural difference is evident. ;-)

And I absolutely agree with you, the title is really promising, I too, want to read the follow up.

Tamar ? when is the happy ending coming ?

tamar said...

jon~ Where's your sense of romance? Perhaps reptiles aren't your thing.. :-)

anonymous~ Yes, do give those Hatchlings some tips! They are in DIRE need of advice for poor, stressed-out Euridice!

Kevin~ Well, contrary to other commentors on this blog, I think your question shows that not only have you read and understood this post, but you are using intuition to figure out the nature of the protagonists.. And I too would love to know why Frank continues to pull Euridice's tail when he knows (or should know) full well she doesn't care for it.. Is it a gender issue rather than cultural? What do you think? And anyone who's reading this, for that matter, I'd be very interested in your opinion..

Clement~ Bavakasha, lo l'hafchid et a orachim! And in reference to the ending.. These things can't be rushed..

clement said...

I think Tamar the answer to your question lays in the story itself.
It looks like Frank thinks he needs to act in a somewhat obnoxious way, as it could be understood by the ones who don't understand he loves them, to express his love. After all, isn't it what he learnt from his father ?

So personally I see this as a cultural difference and in no way a gender one, unless you are trying to blame all the male turtles for not behaving appropriately...

Anyway, maybe Euridice will realize this and won't hold it against Frank and maybe even see the affectionate intention.

Are you already thinking about the writing ?
you know I still am waiting for the next episode of the comics

Just_because_today said...

I am sure Euridice didn't move too fast when Frank pulled her tail, after all she is a turtle. I, too, would like to know the end of the love story, perhaps it's one of those where we must use our imagination like the author did in creating it in the first place. Good job.

tamar said...

clement and just for today~
endings are overrated! (And I've lost my momentum..) I will try at some future date, to conclude this story.. Thanks for your support!!

dakota said...

a very complicated and heartfelt tale--i LOVE the language. the mysterious part is how one views criticism as love and the other as rejection...seems to be all about context...and frank expressing (frankly) his love in the only way he kows how (typical man, grabbing a girl's tail/ or is he really trying to grab her TALE and take the storyline away from HER???) --good he wants to protect her but will she harden her shell as a result--
many itneresting and intriguing metaphors..my favorite part was the chicken diagram, but i lvoed it all..want to hear more...

tamar said...

Dakota~ Thanks for reminding me why I wrote this in the first place! Great to have you visiting.. Your analysis here is as keen as your dream analysis..
xxx