Tutzie the Iguana
Author's note: Class project; compared this to the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. That was my... Show full author's note »
The loveFor as long as she could remember, Tutzie had always been treated with respect. Her whole family, which was as big as the diameter of the Stonehenge in England, had grand hope for their youngsters because they were the new child bearers of the Argentine Tegu lizard society. The clan resided in Southern South America, where the climate was a temperate forest with fertile ground and a good amount of water. For centuries, so far back as to be unknown, the species had lived there and raised thousands of lizards each mating season. Tutzie learned of the many ancestral experiences, morals and surreal stories from her elders, who made the way of the Tegu life clear: there was only one way to do it, it was set in stone and there was no going about changing it.
Although they kept to themselves, they were aware of other lizard species living nearby. The Tegu lizards had many rules that needed to be followed, and one was that they were not to interact with the other lizards around. Tutzie never understood the reason for this, but she knew very well that it was against her laws, and vowed never to disobey any of her elders. She once heard a traditional Tegu story about a young lizard that was meandering through the forest by himself, something he should not have been doing in the first place, when he came upon the corpse of a dead lizard. It was unlike any lizard he had seen before, but he felt bad for the creature’s life so he began to call upon the Tegu spirit lord. Legend goes that the lord shunned the poor lizard from the Tegu clan forever because he was blessing an unknown deceased lizard. It is said that this young lizard died mysteriously a couple of days after the lord ‘spoke’ to him; no one knows how he was spoken to or how he passed away. All that Tutzie knew was that she could never go near an unknown species; she surely did not want to die young like the young male lizard.
As a young female lizard, Tutzie’s duty was to follow her mother around and learn to find her own food. The goal of the Tegu was to prepare the future generation for the troubles and skills needed to survive successfully in their homeland. To do this, every female was required to watch their mother’s every move – by shadowing them. Tutzie did not really like the idea, but it was better than staying home in the cave and cleaning up every morning, like her younger siblings did until they reached the age of two.
One typically normal day, Tutzie was shadowing her mother and collecting food for her siblings in a nearby hollow, large bush. She was almost five years old by now, and her mom trusted her to scavenge by herself. Thus doing so, Tutzie felt the freedom given and took advantage of it: she ran around and spun with excitement inside this enormous bush, attempting to catch her ever-too-fast tail.
What she did not notice was that by having as much fun as the young lizard was creating for herself, she slowly strayed away from the bush and into a meadow of daisies. She had never seen such beautiful and simple white flowers before. Tutzie was in a trance – some of them were bigger than her! She forgot all about her task of collecting food for her family, and entered a different world – one of her own creation and imagination, as youngsters often do. She imagined she was a lizard queen who ruled the entire meadow, and that she was collecting the biggest, most elegant and aromatic daisy for her king. He had been away fighting a war against the Walker's Tree Iguana clan, who had been attempting to seize control of the flat meadow for many centuries now.
Tutzie, as the queen, scampered between flowers, smelling all of them with joy and excitement. She perched on her two front legs and daintily leaned over to smell the prettiest flower she had seen thus far. This flower had a speck of black and red on the petals, making it stand out to Tutzie. As she leaned in to take in a strong whiff of the smell, her somewhat long nose touched the yellow pollen that was hidden inside. Unaware of what this was, she began to wonder if it was poisonous. Soon, she began to sneeze uncontrollably, falling from her two hind feet on to her back, twitching like her tail would if it were to fall off in fear.
Presently, a large shadow came upon Tutzie, who was still lying on her back with her eyes closed. She noticed the change in light, and slowly opened her eyes to see a dark figure standing over her, blocking the sun and the vast whiteness of all the daisies. She was normally not a scared lizard, but since she was still somewhat recovering from her pollen attack, she was more insecure than usual – and let out a long and harsh lizard scream that made the daisies in the meadow undulate slightly.
“Do not be afraid, I will not hurt you,” said the unfamiliar thing from above. “I was only walking in the meadow and I heard profound sneezing. I came to see if you were alright, for lizards should never be sneezing.” His voice was so gentle and relaxed that Tutzie stood up very slowly and stopped her loud screeching.
What she saw she could not believe. It was no lizard standing before her, but a big brown and spotted Iguana! At least she thought it was one; she had only ever heard legendary Iguana stories from her Tegu ancestors, so she could not accurately be sure.
“What are you?” she asked faintly. She did not want to sound mean; she only wanted the truth.
“Iguana Shining Tree. Jaspo is what I am called.” He now moved away so Tutzie could see the daisies, but also his face. He was beyond anything she had ever encountered in her young life. He was tall but so full of life. Looking closer, she realized that he was not spotted but actually had scales; small pointy scales that seemed to want to jet off his back at anytime. There were white specks on his forehead and lower face, and as he moved to let her pass, she noticed his fingers: they were thin, light brown and the longest length she had seen. In astonishment, she put her hands up to his and noticed how much smaller her hands were. But she also noticed something else: there was a kind of warmth between them, a connection that she had never felt. It made her entire body quiver with happiness.
As she looked up into Jaspo’s dark ember eyes, he was so calm and seemed so peaceful. He was smiling and looked extremely content. Whatever they were feeling, Tutzie knew she loved it. However long it took she did not know, but she did know that she had fallen immensely and completely in love with Jaspo the Iguana.