By Anjali Nayak
Jordan had the perfect life. Every day , she woke up in her Seattle apartment and drove to a job she absolutely loved. Then, once she came home, she was greeted by her fiancee Stephen and a warm, home-cooked meal. She saw every day, every moment, every second, as a new opportunity, maybe even a blessing.
On a Saturday afternoon, Jordan and Stephen were going on a short walk after dinner. It was one of those perfectly pink skies, with a soft breeze every now and then.
While walking, she noticed something scurry across the sidewalk.
“What was that?” Jordan asked. She tugged on Stephen’s arm. “Look, you saw that thing, what was it?”
Stephen started to form a sentence when he heard a ringing coming from his phone. “Um… I don’t know but wait here this shouldn’t take long,” He hastily explained, “stupid work,” he muttered under his breath.
Usually, this was something that Jordan would have forgotten about. But the situation made her a little confused. She couldn’t shake the predicament. Something was off. Slowly, she crept towards the direction critter had gone. And to her excitement, she saw a small lizard, no longer than her middle finger standing under the beautiful pink sky. Immediately, she scooped it up and ran towards her fiance, cupping the lizard in her hands.
“Stephen, Stephen, look what I found!” She said, gasping for air when she got to Stephen.
Jordan opened her hands in the slightest and Stepen’s eyes grew wide.
“Wow! A lizard? How has that thing not run away yet?”
“I don’t know, but, it’s actually been quite nice!”
Jordan and Stephen sat in silence for a while.
“So…” Stepen muttered, “what do we do now?”
“I think I want to keep it.” Jordan answered.
“Alright, what’s the worse it could do?”
That night, Jordan scooped the lizard up and put it in a small fish tank. She put a few leaves, branches, and grass that she found from outside.
The lizard lived a succinct and simple life. It lived in the fish tank and was fed leaves everyday. At least, that‘s what Jordan thought it ate. Jordan didn’t exactly know how to communicate with a lizard, so she just shouted at it. It wasn’t her fault, she didn’t know how to take care of a lizard. Shortly after the lizard passed away, Jordan decided to check out a book from the library to see the proper way to take care of a lizard. Jordan didn’t really enjoy reading, so she quickly scanned the book. There was one major takeaway she got from the book.
She was too harsh on the lizard. Lizards aren’t supposed to live in such a small tank! They weren’t supposed to eat just leaves everyday! She needed to start treating the lizard exactlyhow it’s supposed to be treated. A real, living, breathing, creature. A month after the death of the previous lizard, Jordan went back to the same spot and found a nearly identical lizard. This time, things were going to be better. She was going to give the lizard the basic rights that it deserved.
For one thing, the lizard didn’t live in a tank and could wander aimlessly around the house. Quickly, the lizard found its favorite spot on the couch right next to the heat ventilator. The next step to giving the lizard a perfect life was feeding the lizard whatever it wanted. The lizard was allowed to eat boiled chicken, apple pies. Quickly, Stephen started to make servings specifically for the lizard.
Next, Jordan and Stephen never scolded the lizard. Jordan felt bad for what happened with the precedent experience and decided that no one likes to be shouted at, so why would lizards like it?
After half a year or so, the lizard became extremely big, nearly as large as the sofa where it seemed to spend so much time.
One day, while sitting down for breakfast, Stephen asked Jordan, “Are lizards really supposed to be that big?”
After thinking for a moment, Jordan responded with, “I wouldn’t really know. This is my first time really caring for a lizard.”
A few months past, although the lizard seemed to have stopped growing, it slowly resembled its human counterparts more and more.
“Jordan sweetie?” Stephen asked one day while they were settling down to watch a movie.
“What is it?”
“I don’t know, something about the lizard being this big is honestly quite weird, I don’t know if this is a good idea or not.”
“Stephen, that’s only because this is our first time taking care of one. I bet there are some people who have had twenty lizards as pets. I haven’t really looked into it but it seems like the sort of thing that would happen.” She caressed his cheek with care, “this is all so new to us, I think this is something we just have to be accepting toward.”
“I have a name y’know.”
“What?” Jordan asked Stephen.
“That wasn’t me.” Stephen replied, seeming terrified.
“It was me,” The lizard replied, “I’ve been thinking about it and I’d like to be called Frederick.”
Jordan and Stepehn looked at each other for answers.
“This is normal right?” They said at the exact same time.
“I’m sure it’s fine Stephen,” Jordan answered.
That next week Stepehn broke off the engagement. He said it was nothing to do with Jordan, but more of a lizard aspect of their relationship.
“I don’t know what it is but I don’t like Frederick at all!” Stephen yelled in the hallway, grabbing his coat and running for the door.
“I have feelings you know!” Frederick shouted from his usual spot at the couch.
Stephen slammed the door behind him and ran off.
“By the way, I don’t know if this sounds weird or not but I’d like to start wearing clothes Jordan.” Frederick asked her.
Jordan’s eyes started to tear up as she let out a wince, “Yeah, sure take some of the stuff that Stephen left behind.”
A week later, Stephen came back to get all of his belongings. He opened the door to the apartment and to his shock saw Frederick in Stephen’s typical work attire. Speechless, Stephen walked right out of the apartment.
Only a few days after, Jordan woke up to see Frederick died. Although Frederick acted like a human and was treated like a human, he was still very much a lizard. Seeing the dead lizard corpse, Jordan felt happiness. She sat down next to the giant lizard body and dialed the love of her life.
“Stephen! I miss you! The lizard is dead. Let’s get married tomorrow!”
“I miss you too!” Stephen said, happier than ever.
Stephen drove to the apartment and together they drove to town hall and got married that moment. The first thing they did as a married couple was carry the dead lizard corpse to the trash.
Together, they lived a happy, caring life. But, whenever Stephen brought up the idea of having kids, Jordan always turned the idea down.