In 2012, while I was spending some time in the UK, my family decided to adopt two sea turtles.
We had talked about if before I left, but it seemed to me like we only liked the idea of having some sort of pets in the house (my father is allergic to cats and my mother doesn’t like dogs) and nobody really wanted to be too involved in taking care of them. On my part, I have an irrational fear of all animals and I was certain I wouldn’t have the guts to do my part, other than feeding them, so I said I didn’t think it was a smart idea to get them.
So, since my family has always valued my inputs immensely, two days after I took off, they went ahead and got those two sea turtles they so desperately wanted. You can imagine my surprise when I came back and found out that two new creatures had joined the family.
As time passed by, we soon got used to having two unusual flatmates. As I initially predicted, after a while neither my brother nor my sisters were too involved in making sure they kept on living and the biggest tasks shifted to my mother who, as you may guess, wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about having to take care of yet other two living things.
A year went by and the situation was pretty much still the same until one day one of the turtles attempted suicide. It sounds pretty ridiculous, I know, but that’s how that happened.
The used to live in a rather small aquarium, so my parents decided to buy a bigger one. During the move, they stayed for a couple of days in an old aquarium of my father’s that we had found in the basement. The only problem was, we hadn’t found its top, so it stayed uncovered for the time that the transition took. On day two of the move, one of the turtles managed to climb the aquarium wall and break free. Since the aquarium was standing more or less 4 feet above the ground, the fall must not have felt too good and as a result that turtle became extremely scared of anything that surrounded it – including the fellow turtle, the vegetation, and the food – and stopped eating altogether. A week later, there was only one turtle left.
That’s where the real story begins.
As a result of the departure of half our sea turtles population, we were unsure whether to get a new one or not and eventually decided to keep just that one, as we weren’t 100% sure which one that was and there was a slight possibility that it could be the jumper, as it always stayed on the defensive. If that had been the case, it probably wouldn’t have much time left anyways. That was also the moment in which that turtle stopped having a name, as there was no way to find out how to distinguish the two.
As it turned out, though, that turtle is still alive and well. It got significantly bigger in the past couple of years and we’re starting to wonder whether we should keep it or if it would be better to give it to a bigger aquarium (there’s a museum not far from our home where there are a lot of sea turtles and it could have a better life).
I don’t really know how I feel about that.
One the one hand, I feel some sort of strange affection for it, even though I’m scared of it. I guess it’s simply part of my idea of how my family looks like now.
Some of you may know that I’m planning on moving out, well, I told my parents I’d love to take the turtle with me if that’s the only way not to give it away.
On the other hand, though, I can’t but pity it, spending its whole life in a box (beautiful and huge, but still a box), alone, which is probably why I feel so drawn to it in the first place.
I feel like that’s where I am as well, a big beautiful box, and I know I wouldn’t want anyone to make me stay captive if there was a chance to break free, but the aquarium looks so bright and safe that I’m truly scared of everything that could happen to the turtle if we decided to let it go.
I don’t know what we’re going to do, the decision doesn’t really depend on me, but every single time I take a glance at the unnamed turtle I wonder about my life’s path, if I’m actually going somewhere or if just appears so when actually I’m just running in circles.