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 »
Fate?I wish the story could end there and the happiness could start flowing through one another, but there is more to the story. Tutzie made a plan to go out and ‘collect food’ everyday to see her secret lover in the meadow. She would stay out almost all day and bring back food just in time for supper. She apologized but continued making them wait. However, each time she brought new and exquisite foods (that she received from Jaspo) that were fascinating and delicious to her family, so they forgave her for coming home late.
She was living the best moments of her life, and was always in a wonderful mood. When her mother would ask why she was so content, Tutzie stumbled over her tongue and gave a very vague answer. Tutzie was so in love, but part of her was also frightened to death: she was keeping a secret from her family that she knew was not okay. She knew she was going against the Tegu code of laws.
Tutzie’s mother, although not the smartest egg in the group, was beginning to suspect something was going on with her daughter, for she came home later and later each subsequent day. She desperately tried to pull information out of Tutzie, but she had no luck with that. She had a motherly hunch, and it was not a good hunch.
One early morning she decided to follow Tutzie out on her daily mission to find the secret hidden behind her strange recent attitude and mood. Tutzie, too happy and distracted by love, did not hear her mother crawl out of the home from the secret passageway, and thus set on her usual path through the big hollow bush. Tutzie began dancing with her tail and her mother was almost baffled – was this what her daughter did for hours on end each day? But no, this was not the answer. Little did the mama lizard know that the answer lay just beyond the bush.
In fact, shortly after the dancing subsided, Tutzie’s mom watched as Tutzie embraced arms and hands with an unknown creature that was waiting for her behind the bush. Horrified down to her soul, she started to turn away from the horrible sight but out of the corner of her eye stopped: Tutzie and the big brown thing were now locking lips, kissing! This gave her mother such a start that she let out the loudest scream Jaspo and Tutzie had ever witnessed.
They couple ran over to see what had happened, and with a realization like a punch to the gut, Tutzie saw her mom, who had fainted after screaming, now lying on the ground by the bush. Tutzie was confused but also sad. Was her mother dead? Why was she here? It must have been her that screamed, she thought.
“It’s my mom! Jaspo, what are we going to do? Is she dead? She can’t be dead!” Tutzie had so much fear she could hardly speak straight, but Jaspo pulled her in to a tight clasp and they waited together.
They did not need to wait long. Tutzie’s mother came around within five minutes, although that time seemed to go by ever so slowly to Tutzie and Jaspo. As soon as she saw an eye flinch, Tutzie was on her knees interrogating her mother. She soon found out why she was there, and before Tutzie could say anything else, her mother said:
“I am telling your father about this! Don’t bother bringing any food tonight, you sure as hell won’t be eating it!” with that, she stormed off and slithered through the bush again, yelling and talking to herself all the way home. Alone at last, Tutzie cried and cried into the arms of her only loved one: Jaspo. He did not quite understand but held her for what seemed like forever; he hoped it would be forever.
Tutzie could not escape her reality forever; she had to go face home. She was not aware of what crime she had committed, but she had a hunch that her parents would tell her that she did commit a crime, even though she thought she had done nothing wrong. With a struggle to let go of Jaspo, she asked him to wish her luck as she ventured back through the bush to face her fate.
“I don’t know when I shall see you again, but please do not forget me, handsome Iguana. You have made me so happy, and whatever happens, I will never forget about you. I love you.” They kissed one last time and then parted ways. Jaspo would be in the same spot the next day and the next, hoping to see his princess, but fearing that he would not.
As she expected, the whole clan found out about her secret, and the elders shunned Tutzie from the community. Her father almost considered ending her life, threatening her by telling her that the spirit lord would come and kill her, just like he did the young male lizard in the legend. Her mom however, did not want her to leave, and so she forced her to do manual labor within the house.
This went on for several years. Each day Tutzie would get up and ruminate about Jaspo and their meadow dances. She had never felt so alone before, and hated the feeling. She wondered if he was feeling the same, and if he still loved her. Little did she know that Jaspo was still at the meadow clearing by the daisies, waiting for his princess who was stuck in her house for eternity.
Tutzie was getting to be past her childbearing years, and this worried her mother. However, according to Tegu rule, Tutzie was not allowed to have children because of the misdeed she had performed. The entire society now referred to Tutzie as the ‘lost one’ because they thought that she had lost her way in the Tegu tradition of having children with a fellow Tegu lizard. They were all eternally mad at her for falling in love with another species. Tutzie tried to explain to her mom that she loved Jaspo with all of her heart, and she did not want to follow Tegu tradition, but because her mom was hearing such nonsense, she kicked her out of the house and told her to never come back.
Tutzie had dreams, a life planned out for her when she was older. Now, everything seemed to be gone; it had slipped away and there was nothing she could do about it. Walking alone in the city, everyone stared at her like she was a freak, and a bad one at that. No one interacted with her, but just watched as she suffered. She was the laughing stock of the crowd, of the people she used to call her friends. She no longer had any of those. She had no one. Some small child lizards even ran away when they saw her approaching. There seemed to be a clear circle around her that one dared to enter.
She wished that Jaspo could be with her, that she could start a family with him and her people would be there to support her. She wished that she could grow old with him, spend forever with him just like they promised to each other. Tutzie did not understand why species had to live apart; she never liked that rule but also never imagined herself to be the one to break it. She wondered where Jaspo was now; it had surely been ten years if not more since he had last held her. Tutzie would do anything to feel the way she did ten years past.
“Why am I dealing with this pain from my people? They do not accept me like Jaspo did; they do not deserve me or care for me, why am I still here?” thought Tutzie. She began answering these questions in her head, and she could see a light bulb in the corner of her mind beginning to get brighter and brighter.
Suddenly, as if someone had lit her tail on fire, Tutzie sped around and told her legs to take her to the clearing in the meadow. She ran and ran, panting and slithering through branches and flowers. At last she came to the meadow. It looked exactly the same, and she felt as if she was a teenage lizard still. There was one big flower with a large dark brown shadow by the roots, and as Tutzie looked closer, her heart began beating like never before. The shadow was Jaspo, hiding from the sun under their daisy flower.
She did not know what to say, all she could do was walk slowly to where Jaspo lay sleeping. As she got closer she saw that his belly was much bigger; he had gained quite some weight and also a few more wrinkles. She stepped on a dry leave and it made a startling noise that scared her and Jaspo: he woke up and immediately turned his head to the sound, and then stared. He stared at Tutzie for a long time; hours, maybe. He slowly got up and reached her hand, and with a swift movement, picked her up and spun her around, hollering to the clear blue sky above. He was old from waiting for her, but never gave up on true love. They rejoiced to be together again at last, happy that both their hearts waited and found each other once again.
That night, she had a dream. In her dream, the Tegu society was on her side; they had accepted her for falling in love with an iguana. Tutzie was walking in the city, glowing like an angel and smiling from sea to shining sea. Everybody was greeting her with love and respect. Her parents and siblings ran forward and kissed her; her mother and father smiled with support and encouragement. They were her friends, and she theirs. Lizards were beaming at her, wagging their tails, thumping and embracing her. Tutzie felt the way she did ten years ago: happy, relaxed, peaceful and in love. She looked to her side and down at her hand: it was intertwined with a pair of long brown fingers.