Painted Turtles: A Short Story

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You’d never believe me if I told you that a turtle named ‘Elmo’ was a monster at heart. You’d also never believe me if I told you that turtles will stop at nothing to escape... even if that means scaling a wall twice their size. Call it what you will, but some things you can never forget.
My summers never held island vacations. Instead, when the warm June air rolled in I was knee deep in my grandparent’s pond. The property they live on used to occupy a farm, but those days are long gone. Yet, the pond still remains. Occupying the clear, albeit green, water are dozens of carp, toads and Painted Turtles. Resting on the bank is a bright turquoise paddle boat.
I was four years old when I first stepped foot into the paddle boat. Besides me were
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As I write this, the binder of records sits on the desk next to me, watching me carefully as I type. The nostalgia leaves a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Ten years after my first catch, my cousins moved away and many of our beloved turtles had passed on. One fall afternoon, it hit me that things would never be the same again. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t scared because in truth I was petrified. Endings never settled kindly in my stomach and this was no exception. Yet there was something positive to be taken from this. My passion for helping animals started on those sunny summer days. Those turtles taught me how to be compassionate, empathetic and most importantly, how to connect to animals and to people as well. I now understand that something as special as turtle catching will live on with me forever. In his book Dracula, Bram Stoker writes, “Truly there is no such thing as finality”. This statement proves true not only in the case of turtle catching, but throughout the rest of my life as well. While the door has closed on turtle catching, more doors have opened. I use the lessons I’ve learned to further myself and grow as a human being. My background has shaped me in ways that never fail to amaze. It has provided me with a strong base to hold me as I use to to grow each and every day. The turtles remind me that regardless of how different things are now, some things never change. Finality is a

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