He was hopelessly in love. He had adored for years the most beautiful pelican in the world. His heart very nearly bursting out of his shell every time he saw her, he watched her day after day as she landed from rock to rock, surveying the lake for her next meal. Her long dark hair hung down to the small of her back, her wings smooth and silky. Her long legs would glide effortlessly against the wind as she flew. Whenever she flew close by him near the shore, Dave thought he might faint, so quick would his heart begun to pound against his shell, rendering him breathless and dizzy.
Romaine. Her name was Romaine.
Romaine was tall and her neck long and regal, her feathering that of a pale blue that shone like sea glass against the light of the bright morning sun. She was different from the other pelicans who were mostly white and grey. She liked to take her breakfast along the shore, flying low to the ground to see if she could spy any small minnows. She was very health conscious and had learned to watch her weight. Minnows would be fine.
Scouring the water, she didn’t see Dave until she came to rest upon a rock closest to the sandy shore. Standing on a rock, one leg pulled up against her abdomen, while standing comfortably on the other as pelicans do, she began her morning meal. Munching and slurping her fill, it took Dave close to 45 minutes to travel close enough through the sand to enable her to hear him. He was, after all, a turtle.
Wiping her beak with her strong left wing, she was about to lift off from the rock she had been dining upon when she noticed him.
She was immediately self conscious and wondered if she looked fat.
There’s that good looking turtle, she thought to herself…. and smart too.
She had heard all about him from her pelican girlfriends, who had noticed him over the years. He always seemed to be surrounded by other good looking turtle girls, which intimidated her greatly. She sighed slightly as he crawled closer to her.
He would never be interested in me she thought putting her head down, resigning herself to being alone for yet another cold winter.
Dave finally made his way as close to the lovely Romaine as his poor constitution would allow. His heart was beating madly and his palms were sweaty. He could barely look at her, his eyeglasses fogged by his heavy breathing.
Oh no! he thought in a panic. She had daintily stepped off the rock and she was coming towards him ever so slowly. He had to grab hold of a nearby sea shell to prevent himself from falling over.
Whatever should I say to him? the nervous pelican thought.
She missed the solidarity of her pelican friends standing behind her. Usually when she was in a crowd she was much more brave when it came to looking for a mate. She was on her own now, no birds frolicking in the sea shore besides her, laughing at every witty joke or small talk that came out of her mouth.
Keeping her head down to avoid his gaze, the pelican was consumed with inadequacies, which of course, no one had ever noticed.
What shall I do? she thought frantically as they inched closer and closer towards each other. She racked her brain desperately for some intelligent conversation opener, something that would make him laugh, thus putting her at ease.
But what the heck do turtles think is funny?
They were but inches apart when Dave stopped to look up at the sky into the eyes of his beautiful princess, his darling Romaine. Golden streaks of sunlight shone through her blue feathers, creating an almost angelic outline of her svelte frame.
He could not speak.
Neither did she.
They looked at each other, a thousand words not spoken, a million thoughts left hanging in the sunlight.
Turtle Dave nodded and cleared his throat.
And said….. nothing.
Romaine the Beautiful Pelican belied no emotion but simply fluttered her eyelashes.
Disappointment loomed big in her heart, but she was too proud to say anything in reply to nothing.
She watched the turtle as he slowly moved his way up the sand, leaving his indentation of his trail behind him. It was the only remembrance of the fact that he had been there at all.
Small tears formed in the corner of Romaine’s eyes as the form of the turtle blended in with the horizon. She watched until it was gone.
“I knew it!” she shuddered softly to herself.
“I’m too fat. Why would he ever be interested in me?”
“I knew it!” he whispered sadly to himself.
“I’m too serious. Why would she ever be interested in me?”
And they never felt the depth of their feelings for each other, never experienced the joy of a union, or felt their warm breath upon their necks.
Because they never uttered a word to each other.
All the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Doolittle knew of the longings between the two lovesick creatures. It never occurred to anyone to take either animal aside and talk to them, because it was so obvious that they were perfect together, they were meant for each other. Surely they would figure it out on their own. Wouldn’t they?
Time will tell. Time is immeasurable in Doolittle.
So is love.