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Letting Go

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The morning sun scorched the back of my neck as I sat in my backyard. The ancient bench beneath me let out a creak. I didn’t know how to overcome my boredom. I couldn’t believe it, the first day of summer and I did not know what to do. I lifted my head up and I got a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye. A soccer ball next to the shed… my boredom was cured! I quickly trotted over to the ball.
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I sat there staring into a picture of me in my parents’ room. I still remember that morning very vividly and remember it as if it happened yesterday.
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It all happened so quickly, the crisp breeze, the smell of dandelions and pollen, the taste of fresh dew in the morning, and the grass on my bare feet. I noticed a strange musty smell as I approached the soccer ball. As I picked up the ball, I only had a split second to realize what was happening. I saw a snake slither away like a stroke of paint on a canvas. Some kind of hunting instinct must have kicked in because I still wonder why a young boy like me would go and dispatch a monstrous snake ¾ of my size. I always loved reptiles so the curiosity of being able actually to capture one just like Steve Irwin must have kept me going. The snake bolted like a stream of lighting around the outside edge of the shed, carving back and forth. I perused the agile creature around the rear end of the shed, the right side, and soon the front. It was at the front where I had a chance to grab the legless reptile. I grasped the serpent’s tail gently, as I knew that snakes can’t feel their tail lift off the ground. I let out a shriek, “Mom!!! I caught a snake!”
Still to this day, I wonder what my mom was thinking when she saw me, a kindergartner, coming out of the bushes holding a snake ¾ my size. All I know was I was proud of myself because I was just like Steve Irwin. She screamed in a fearful voice, “What are you doing!? Put it back in the bushes!!!”
I asked, “Why?”
She yelled back, “It could be poisonous!”
I noticed the tan stripes along the snake’s back as I followed it around the shed. I replied, “No it can’t, it’s a just Garter Snake.” I then ran up to her and showed her the snake.
“Keep it away from me!” she demanded. My siblings soon surrounded me like an angry mob. I showed them the strange creature that captivated me so much. I am sure they felt the same way I felt, curiosity and fascination. As I held the snake in my hands I finally noticed it’s size, it was massive compared to me. I remembered Steve Irwin mentioning that female snakes are larger than males. I assumed it was female and named her “Hissy”, since she made a hissing noise. I was developing feelings for this peculiar creature and asked my mom if I could keep her as a pet. She answered, “No, some things are better off free. You should let her go if you really want her to be happy.”
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And that’s exactly what I did; I let her go, to roam free wherever she pleased. It was no easy task either. I knew I did the right thing in the end, even though I was disappointed at first. I broke the gaze off the photo and got a big grin on my face because I felt proud for what I did that sunny, summer day.





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